I spent Thursday and Friday in Marietta. That’s where we had our District Attorneys’ meeting.
Every quarter we meet somewhere. It’s a great opportunity for me to learn. We have several DAs that have been doing this for twenty years or more. They’ve seen it all. All of them are happy to help with any issue that I can raise and I enjoy picking their brains.
We usually invite speakers. For example, we had a member of the House of Representatives leadership address us about the upcoming session. We were able to share with him some suggestions for improving the laws and he offered us helpful direction and insight.
We heard from the Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the leader of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Among other things, the CJCC doles out federal grant money to players in the criminal justice arena.
The Attorney General was there. He shared with us his efforts to stop human traffickers. Those are creeps that find teenagers and turn them into prostitutes. We, of course, pledged our support for bringing them to justice.
He also told us of an obstacle to capital punishment. The new drug that is used in the lethal injections is hard to find. European nations that oppose the death penalty are boycotting the drug companies that manufacture it. As a result, only a handful of states have the drug and the shelf life for many of the bottles is about to expire. I guess it would be dangerous to use it after that—it might kill somebody. We couldn’t have that, now could we?
The Commissioner for the Department of Corrections spoke to us. He runs the prisons and probation programs.
We learned more about the new evidence code that will be in effect after New Years’ Day.
And we had some visiting lawyers from Georgia. That’s the Republic of Georgia. You know—“used to be part of the Soviet Union Georgia”. It was fun to compare notes with them.
In their country, judges and prosecutors are appointed for 10-year terms. The same body can remove them if appropriate. Apparently, that happens regularly. One of the guys, who struggled with English, knew one word well. “Bribery.”
They only use juries for murder trials. The judge decides guilt or innocence the rest of the time.
Their defendants are presumed innocent, like ours are. They also have bail like we do. And appeals. And prison. They don’t have the death penalty, but they wish they did.
One of our guys asked what they liked the most about America. The response was immediate.
Suddenly, for me at least, the cultural differences evaporated.