By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
New Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Parks White said he and his staff have declared war on crime in his five-county region.
The Northern Judicial Circuit includes Franklin, Hart, Madison, Elbert, and Oglethorpe counties.
On Wednesday, the Lavonia Police Department sponsored a luncheon for White and his staff at the Lavonia Train Depot so he could meet and address local business and civic leaders on his goals for the office he took over in January.
White said since he has taken office, he and his staff have cleared 20 percent of the 3,000 cases that were still on the books when he took office.
He previously told local government leaders that he had found stacks of old open cases, some going back ten years or more, piled in the DA’s office in Hartwell; some in boxes that had been shoved into a closet.
White said because his predecessor did not aggressively prosecute offenders, criminals in the five-county circuit were not afraid of the prosecutor.
“The criminals in your community must fear the District Attorney’s Office in order to stamp our criminal behavior,” said White. “If they do not fear the prosecutor, they end up repeating their criminal behavior.”
White went on to say that his office is aggressively going after repeat offenders to get them off the streets once and for all.
“We are making sure that criminals with lengthy and violent criminal histories are being punished in an appropriate way,” said White. “People who have no respect for the law, no respect for the lives of others, no respect for the property of others, no respect for the liberty of others, we are coming after them hard. We are going to make sure they take responsibility for their actions.”
White cited a number of recent cases his office prosecuted in Franklin, Elbert, and Hart Counties in which repeat offenders were found guilty and given lengthy prison sentences.
White said during these first four years in office, it is his goal to make the Northern Judicial Circuit the safest in Georgia.