More than 2,000 indictments or accusations have been filed by District Attorney Rick Bridgeman since he took office in September with most of the backlogged cases being dealt with.
Bridgeman issued an update last week on the status of the cases in the office.
“The great news is that we have reviewed and made appropriate charging decisions on virtually all of the backlogged cases that I inherited in September 2007,” Bridgeman said. “Since September, our office has filed over 2,400 indictments or accusations and most cases with sufficient evidence to prosecute are now being presented to a grand jury or accused within 90 days of arrest.”
Bridgeman said the only old cases remaining are ones awaiting investigation by law enforcement agencies or forensics testing by the Georgia Crime Lab.
“Each of those cases is being individually tracked and monitored to ensure timely handling,” Bridgeman said.
Other highlights listed in the report for the first quarter included:
• In the Jackson County office, one attorney has been designated to handle felony sexual assault cases involving both child and adult victims and one attorney to handle domestic violence and child physical abuse cases.
• Two attorneys completed specialized drug prosecutor training.
• Because average recommended felony fines have not changed in 15 years, the staff is reviewing the fines to more accurately reflect the costs to handle the cases.
• Implemented several suggestions of local law enforcement agencies, including the creation of a method to identify cases in which evidence is being held by law enforcement agencies and notifying them upon disposition of the case so that contraband can be destroyed and other property returned to the rightful owner in a timely fashion.
• Several staff members have been added, including: Mary Beth Wolff, senior assistant district attorney; Linda Phillips, legal secretary; Jonni Barnett, victim services/TPO coordinator; and Amy Carter, assistant district attorney.
Bridgeman has also set up meetings in all three counties in the circuit to answer questions from citizens. The schedule is as following:
•Jackson County, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, at Jefferson House Restaurant, 682 Athens Street, Jefferson.
•Barrow County, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 17, at the Winder Police Department training room, 94 North Broad Street, Winder.
•Banks County, 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 17, at the historic Banks County courthouse in downtown Homer.