Savannah, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp, accompanied by First Lady Marty Kemp, members of the General Assembly, district attorneys and solicitors-general, and other local and state leaders, signed Senate Bill 92 today, establishing the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC). The PAQC will serve as a valuable oversight mechanism for district attorneys and solicitors-general across Georgia, ensuring these officials fulfill their constitutional and statutory duties.
"My No. 1 priority is public safety across our state," said Governor Brian Kemp. "As hardworking law enforcement officers routinely put their lives on the line to investigate, confront, and arrest criminal offenders, I won't stand idly by as they're met with resistance from rogue or incompetent prosecutors who refuse to uphold the law. The creation of the PACQ will help hold prosecutors driven by out-of-touch politics than commitment to their responsibilities accountable and make our communities safer."
SB 92 - sponsored by Majority Whip Randy Robertson; co-sponsored by President Pro-Temp John Kennedy; Sen. Larry Walker, III; Sen. Bill Cowsert; Sen. Matt Brass; Sen. Jason Anavitarte; Rep. Joseph Gullett; Rep. Houston Gaines; Speaker Pro-Temp Jan Jones; Rep. Stan Gunter; Rep. Jesse Petrea; and Rep. Matt Gambill - establishes the eight-member Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PACQ). The PAQC has the authority to investigate alleged misconduct by district attorneys and solicitors-general and discipline, remove, or cause the involuntary retirement of those who meet the conditions for removal.
The bill establishes the following grounds for the removal or involuntary retirement of a district attorney or solicitor-general from office:
|▪||Mental or physical incapacity that interferes with the performance of duties that is likely permanent;|
|▪||Willful misconduct in office;|
|▪||Willful and persistent failure to carry out statutory duties;|
|▪||Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;|
|▪||Conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the office into disrepute; or|
|▪||Knowingly authorizing or permitting an assistant district attorney or assistant solicitor-general to commit any of the aforementioned acts.|
The PAQC must also establish standards of conduct and rules for the commission’s governance, subject to approval by the Supreme Court, by October 1, 2023. In addition to the creation of the PAQC, the bill adds to the statutory duties of district attorneys and solicitors-general the requirement to review every case for which probable cause exists and make a prosecutorial decision as to each individual case. The bill also clarifies that a district attorney or solicitor-general’s failure to perform his or her statutory duties shall constitute grounds for a recall.
The governor expresses his thanks to all who were involved in the passage of this legislation.