(USNewsMag.com) – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation May 5, which creates the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission. The oversight commission would have the power to remove district attorneys as well as local prosecutors from their jobs if they are not upholding their constitutional duty.
The new law includes the creation of an oversight commission with eight members which will convene July 1. The eight-member panel will include six former or current federal attorneys as well as two other lawyers.
An investigative panel responsible for investigating any alleged conduct that constitutes discipline will have five members of the oversight commission on it. A hearing panel that is responsible for adjudicating charges and issues incapacity as well as disciplinary orders will have the other three members of the oversight commission on it.
New rules and regulations will be announced before Oct. 1. However, complaints will not be able to be received by the commission before Oct. 1. Complaints over misconduct which occurred before that date will not be able to be received unless the misconduct continues beyond the Oct. 1 date and is part of a pattern.
The bill, SB 92, was passed by the Georgia state House and Georgia state Senate earlier in 2023.
Current law says lawmakers can impeach district attorneys but that is rarely done.
Those who support the bills say it is a way to focus on making communities safer by making sure district attorneys and local prosecutors are following the law and that politics are not involved in decision making.
Democrats who oppose the bill say it is viewed as an effort to crackdown on district attorney’s and local prosecutors who practice progressive prosecutorial practices. They have also stated they feel it could be used to unnecessarily remove local prosecutors.
Democrats have also criticized the legislation as a way to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is overseeing the investigation into former President Donald Trump and the 2020 election. Republicans have not mentioned Willis in regard to the legislation.
Copyright 2023, USNewsMag.com