RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Richmond County is currently experiencing a drought – there's not enough Prosecutors with sufficient experience. There aren't many with more than 4 years of experience.
According to District Attorney Natalie Paine, Public Defenders currently have more experience than the Prosecutors - which is uncommon. "You don't want someone with less than 6 months of experience trying a murder case because that becomes a public safety issue," she says.
It's not a problem that's plaguing Richmond County currently but District Attorney Paine says she's in dire need of more experienced ADA's. "We don't have 6 attorneys with more than 3 years of experience in our office, we don't have 5 attorneys with more than 3 years of experience."
She made her case in front of Commissioners asking them to approve adding 3 new ADA's, but that didn't sweep every commissioner off of their feet.
"What impact other than the delay of trial dates or case load's will this decision have." says Commissioner Andrew Jefferson.
"We are basically one of the only circuits in the state of Georgia where there are more public defenders than there are ADA's," explains District Attorney Paine.
Paine says the inexperience of her prosecution team comes down to a lack of pay as 2 employees recently left for better paying opportunities. That and lack of staff she says its ultimately hurting her department. "One veteran attorney might be able to do certain things on their own but it might take two inexperienced attorneys to accomplish the same task."
One committee decided not to approve the positions meaning next week the full body of commissioners will have the last say.
"When I look at how I would want a case to be prosecuted if I was a victim, I would want the best prosecutor on my case. Obviously, you can't measure that but you want somebody who knows what they're doing," says Paine.
If approved, these positions won't be funded with taxpayer's money. The money would come from the DA's budget, but she needs the commission's approval.