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Kemp signs bill to allow prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission to start its work

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(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a measure allowing the new Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission to start its work.

Senate Bill 332 allows the commission, created last year with Senate Bill 92, to adopt internal guidelines and rules. It also circumvents a November state Supreme Court administrative order that found approving the commission’s standards of conduct was outside its authority.

“This legislation will help us ensure rogue or incompetent prosecutors are held accountable if they refuse to uphold the law,” Kemp, a Republican, said during a brief Wednesday press conference. “As we know all too well, crime has been on the rise across the country, and it’s especially prevalent in cities where prosecutors are giving criminals a free pass or failing to put them behind bars due to lack of professional conduct.

“When out of touch prosecutors put politics over public safety, the community suffers, and people and property are put at risk,” the governor added. “Today, we are renewing our commitment that we won’t forfeit public safety for prosecutors who let criminals off the hook. Georgians deserve better, and they deserve to feel safe in their own communities.”

Kemp’s signature comes the same day Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee dismissed some charges against former President Donald Trump in a case alleging he tried to interfere with the 2020 election.

A separate Senate Special Committee on Investigations, created with the passage of Senate Resolution 465, has started probing allegations that the prosecutor who brought charges against Trump, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, had an affair with a special prosecutor on the case, Nathan Wade.

“Now, the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission can begin its important work and rein in rogue District Attorneys that refuse to uphold the rule of law in our state,” Lt. Governor Burt Jones, a Republican, said in a statement. “If District Attorneys want to continue down this reckless road and put the interests of criminals ahead of law-abiding citizens, they will be held accountable.”

While the new commission would seemingly target Willis, another prosecutor seeing renewed scrutiny is Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, particularly in the wake of the slaying of a college student in Athens. A 26-year-old Venezuelan national who entered the country illegally and was living in the liberal enclave has been charged with Laken Riley’s death.

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