District Attorney’s office does a 180

What a difference a year (and four months) makes!  District Attorney Tracy Graham-Lawson has already tried more cases than former D.A. Jewel Scott did while in office (zero cases tried), successfully removing criminals from our streets.

“In 2009 we had a 15% increase in incoming cases as compared to 2008, yet we closed with 17% fewer cases than when I took office,” explains Lawson. “All [2004-2008 cases] that were unindicted when I took over are now either indicted or accused, have been dismissed or plead guilty.” These include Gerald Benn who shot a cop (sentenced to 120 years); William Cunningham for poisoning his kids using Campbell’s soup (100 years); and the Rainbow House embezzlement (20 years), among many other cases where defendants eventually plead guilty.

The D.A.’s goal for 2010 is to get all incarcerated felons indicted within 90 days and non-incarcerated felons within nine months, so all are hopefully completed within one year of the crime.

The D.A.’s office also offers a Pre-Trial intervention program which has admitted 500 nonviolent first time felony offenders, and none have committed another crime after participating. “150 [completed the program] and we put $66,000 into the General Fund for the county,” says Lawson. “My predecessor had a program yet $0 went into the General Fund (requirement of the statute).” Additionally, Lawson’s victim/witness unit (5 employees) has helped over 5,000 victims/witnesses solve crimes.

Our DA’s office has also created an anti-armed robbery campaign, which will feature a movie starring kids. “It doesn’t matter if a gun is fake or real, loaded or not, or any other offensive weapon – you get 10 years minimum and up to life in prison. I started this because I am tired of watching these young men go away because when they get out they will be unemployable and will have missed finishing school, going to college, their first job, buying their first home, getting married and starting a family,” says Lawson. “I can’t un-ring the bell – if they do it we are going to come after them and make them go to prison BUT if we can prevent it in the first place . . . that would be great.”

The anti-armed robbery movie premiere will be held at 6:00 PM on May 3 at the Clayton County Performing Art Center. Although aimed at young people and their parents, anyone may attend and admission is FREE!

87 comments Add your comment

Jimmy (Conservative Brother)

April 28th, 2010
10:11 am

I am so glad to see that some are truly realizing Dr. Kings Dream and are judging Mrs. Lawson on the content of her character and not the color of her skin. She is doing a good job. She is capable and has hired a capable staff and it shows in the results that she is getting.
I am so tired of the race game. It is more likely than not when people get arrested they have committed a crime. It is not likely that through every step of criminal justice process some racists decides that an innocent person of color must go to jail for no other reason than the color of their skin. Remember that people of color are the majority in this county and when Mrs Lawson’s office tries a case she must choose a jury from a majority black pool of jurist. Mrs. Lawson then must put forth the evidence to that jury and the jury makes the decision of guilty or not guilty.

Ex-Clayton student, congratulations on your coming graduation. You say that you were stopped nine times with the only justification being the color of your skin and the fact that you were driving a Mercedes. Did you ever make a complaint to the police departments. Police departments frown on these things and all the departments you mentioned have people of color in high positions and I’m sure they would have a sympathetic ear to your plight.
Did you contact an attorney? Being stopped that many times would have some attorney chomping at the bit for a chance at his share of the settlement which would be awarded on a slam dunk case like that. Especially in today’s litigious society. If you were indeed pulled over nine times without a valid reason either remedy would be so easy to undertake that it would be senseless to not pursue them. I guess what I’m saying is I do not believe it happened. You are not the only young black male with a high end vehicle who travels through this county. Officers would go crazy trying to stop every one he or she encountered. In your own self important little world what you described may be the case, but I doubt it.

Mary Lou

April 28th, 2010
11:08 am

The real problem in Georgia is we have a pay-for-incarceration industry. Inmates serve as slave labors. The county bills for the man hours and gets money. The private probation system is a money generating scheme in which poor citizens are raped of their limited resources. I’ve seen many poor white kids in this system as well. All one has to do is look at the makeup of any courtroom and yes you will see a majority black courtroom. Why? Because LEO’s target men of color. When I served in the Army during the 1980’s When we qualified with our M16, Our target was a grey plastic pop up siluette, No markings at all however, in our minds that target was a soviet soilder. When I graduated from the police aademy and became POST certified those targets we shot at to qualify were young black men. truth hurts but it is the fact. Just like in Arizona, the new immigration bill will racial profile hispanics despite the claims by the conservatives that it wont. By the way, How dumb can the Republicans be? They have driven the largest segment of the population into the hands of the democrats.

dogman

April 28th, 2010
12:07 pm

Lil Vic is back. He is running for the State Senate seat of Valencia Seay

Concerned

April 28th, 2010
12:11 pm

Truth and Check the Record are both ignorant to the Cracker Barrel case. Although the female did not deserve what she ultimately received, she did start the altercation by spitting in the face of the accused. If both of you were confronted with a human being who spat in your face, I think you would also react as the accused did. It is normal reaction to retaliate, but not to the extreme this individual did. Why are you judging Mrs. Lawson on a case that has not been adjudicated (that means “gone to court”). If she gets a guilty verdict, which I’m sure she will since you have a white defendant and black victim, both of you will think she hung the moon, sun, and stars. I also hope she gets a guilty verdict, but I also believe the whole truth to this incident should come to surface. GREAT JOB MRS. LAWSON!! GOOD LUCK!!

Pat a Clayton Resident

April 28th, 2010
1:09 pm

Anyone complaining and didn’t vote, shame on you. I met Ms. Lawson while she was campaigning. She gave thoughtful answers on how she would improve the district attorney’s office. Her answers on juveniles and incarceration and remedies for at-risk youth made me think she cared. I believed her sincerity and have not read or heard anything derogatory. However, the jury is still out. I will visit the Superior Courtrooms and find out what’s going on and not just rely on inhouse statistics. That’s why you must qualify what people say and how they govern themselves. Actions speak louder than words. So, for now I am a Tracy fan.

SynamonSays!

April 28th, 2010
2:38 pm

Concerned that is a lie. The victim did not spit in the perpetrator’s face. Stop that lie right now! Show up at the trial for the truth. There is a tape of the incident, but for some reason it is not been made public. I wonder why? Do you know?

Question

April 28th, 2010
3:24 pm

“Concerned”- how are you so certain that the victim spat in the defendant’s face? There were several witnesses around who did not corroborate the defendant’s story.

JBird

April 28th, 2010
3:57 pm

“All this sugar for Lawson is making me sick! Have you ever sat in her courtroom when she lauded over the juvenile court?”…not only have I sat in her courtroom, I worked with her. Never heard the term “hanging” judge. She was stern with parents neglecting their children. She was stern with children breaking the law. She was fair with parents when they wanted to work to take back custody of their kids and fair when children wanted to make amends for their actions. She is a beacon of light for a county headed down the drain. She’s smart and knows what she’s doing. Clayton County is lucky to have her. You go Tracy!!

Donald

April 28th, 2010
4:22 pm

All;

Thank you again Kallen…I am starting to see the see-saw move ever so slightly towards the positive for this county…Make take a few years but I see what you are talking about…There are a lot of people here that are enthusiatic about the progress the DA’ office has made (including me)….I also see some aren’t..

I say, “how in the world can it not be better than Jewell Scott?” Let’s all be real..I don’t know how she is as a lawyer, but as a DA, she stunk up the place…Bottom line!

Same goes for Kembrough over Victor Hill, Sure, he has shortcomings, but it’s a big improvement…However, they are complaints there too (Geez, be careful what you complain about, you may just get something worse…)

You all know I used to rip this county apart..couldn’t find anything positive about it…One day, my wife said, you know it could be worse….like Detroit, Michigan or Gary, Indiana worse…That struck me…

We have a ways to go, of course, but Kimberley, you have set us on the right course…

Clayton County will rise in 2014!!!!!

Donald

April 28th, 2010
4:33 pm

Truth;

I also want to say this… As a black man, I was highly outraged and upset over the Cracker Barrel incident. It took me back to my youth in Alabama when I had to deal with racism on a continual basis, especially when I thought of it from the perspective of it “what if it had been my wife….?”.

However, I want you to know this, after having talked with Tracy before, I believe her to be one of the rare individuals in our society that is truly colorblind. Per her word, She said she would personally prosecute the case and she did… After my first impression, and all I have witnessed her to do in her short time in office, I am more than willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

We’ll assess her performance later.

My thought is that it’s time to put aside racial differences and all work together for the good of this county!!!!!

Clayton County will rise in 2014!!!!

Stifiling..

April 28th, 2010
6:12 pm

Mary Lou thank you for that comment. No one wants to admit that we have a serious race problem in Clayton County because it is so heavily projected towards young people. They would rather come on this blog to spew out their hateful feelings perceptions of our youth. Some of the insidious remarks made on the blog are sad.

Calling all fans

April 28th, 2010
6:36 pm

All you fans be in court on July 19th. It doesn’t matter whether you are Black or White when it comes to civil rights. Yes it was a Black woman and a White man. I wonder if the races had been reversed would we even be having this conversation. I said I wonder, not I think and I will wait until the trial to see how Lawson handles this case.

BnB

April 28th, 2010
6:53 pm

Hill says he is self-employed. How? – as a rent-a-cop like years ago or just as Lee’s water carrier last last time he was in public office.

ASimpleTruth

April 28th, 2010
8:21 pm

Okay, a WA male briefly beat down an AA female. That’s a heck of a lot less than the crimes conducted againts AA females by AA men everyday in this city.

OMG

April 28th, 2010
9:17 pm

A Simple Truth,
You are a simple fool. WA males kill WA females on a regular bases. They kill pregnant wives, kidnap and enslave young girls and slay their pregnant mistresses. Oh yeah they even concoct stories “like a Black man did it.” So what the hell is your simple point? Crime is crime, black or white.

The problem is the double standards that are applied. It seems as though a White life has more value than a Black life. If this man had been Black and the woman White, chances he would never make it to a trial. Now run and tell that.

Pittbull

April 28th, 2010
9:36 pm

Keep blaming everything on race, and you will never amount to anything.Its you dummy!

Focus on Education not Incarceration

April 28th, 2010
9:56 pm

Not one student in Clayton County received the Gates Millenium Scholarhip this year.

More emphasis needs to be on how we better educate our children. If this blog is a snapshot of the thinking of the general population of Clayton County, I pray that God will save our children.

The present school board is weak and does not have the capacity to raise the bar for administrators, teachers, students or parents. Especially when a board member states, “Why do students need calculators.” Word up, they need calculators and computers. Somebody needs a clue.

Go to claycodemocrats.org and look at the people who qualified to run for school board so far. It is so sad that no one has signed up so far to challenge incumbents Anderson, King or Bivins. They should not go unopposed. Anderson still can not seem to get the Roberts Rules of Order down pat and she is running around telling people she might run for County Commission Chair (does she really think she is doing that great of a job as Board Chair -Not!). As for Bivins he is always MIA and when he does show up he abstains from key votes. King has not qualified yet nor has any opponent in his race.

So go ahead and focus on crime instead of education and our children will never become “world class” students like those in surrounding counties.

teacher

April 28th, 2010
10:27 pm

Without a strong public education system that is supported by all parents this county will not see a decrease in crime! Crime prevention starts at home and when the parents are criminals themselves (oh I will show you how to cheat on the free and reduced lunch forms so you can have those new $100 shoes, dealing drugs, scamming EBT cards) the children will never learn. If it is not taught at home and the school allows weak administrators to let these parents run the schools then what do we have? I will tell you. We will have students returning to the classroom after they have committed felonies (bringing weapons), teachers being unable to teach, students unable to learn and a huge amount of RISK to the safey of our learning environment. Clayton county needs to wake up and see through these smoke screens! Tribunal counsels are a joke! I just hope the juvenile charges are stiff and Ms. Lawson has made an impact on these courts as well.

Truth

April 29th, 2010
12:11 am

Mrs. Lawson don’t have content of character and is colorblind and have not been doing a good job. It’s 2010; the majority of the voters can see thru her, and we all know we need to send her back to private practice. Again, it 2010 even the section 8 dwellers abd the like know racism when they see it! Alot of them are victims of her for being (BWBIC) Breathing While Black In Clayton!

Lenwood

April 29th, 2010
3:41 am

How cna clayton has a race problem??? isnt everyone black???

Donald

April 29th, 2010
8:28 am

Truth…You know as well as everyone else on this forum that a lot of the section 8 dwellers are the problem here in CC…

You will of course argue ad nauseum against that preposition…

But the police reports and stats tell a different story…

P.S. So you would rather have Jewel (And by association, her scandalous husband, Lee…) Scott..?
If so, there is nothing left for us to argue…because we just don’t see things the same.

man on the street

April 29th, 2010
8:51 am

To Truth – from the grammar – you must be kin to Ms. G. of the school board meeting fame. Beside – it would be nice if you got a few facts straight. She was a juvenile judge befor being DA and the voters see a marked inprovement from the days of Lee Scott dominated Jewel running the dept.

Clayton Parent

April 29th, 2010
9:49 am

All these comments about juveniles being prosecuted are obviously from the parents of those juveniles. Where were you when they were committing the crime? Lawson is doing her job. Do yours as a parent and your child won’t have to face her.

Larry OKeeffe

April 29th, 2010
9:51 am

To: Focus on Education no Incarceration,

First Clayton does have at least one Gates Millennium Scholar this year from Morrow High School. In fact Morrow has had Gates Scholarship winners for the past three years.

Tracy Lawson is doing a great job as DA. We need people like Tracy Lawson, Kem Kembrough, and Tasha Mosley. All have had a positive influence on Clayton County.

Do we need more emphasis on Education, absolutely! But we need balance, Public Safety and the justice system play a key roll as well, one is not exclusive of the other.

Yes it is a shame that more candidates have not qualified. But having seen the disrespect and abuse our elected officials are forced to endure it does not surprise me. Those that do choose to serve with integrity and dignity are deserving of our respect and gratitude.

Charlton Bivins has on occasion missed board meetings. He has a full time occupation as a DeKalb County Sheriff that on occasion conflicts with called board meetings. To my knowledge he has never abstained from a vote unless there was a clear conflict of interest in which case he has identified the reason and abstained as he should.

Pray for our Schools

Get Out!

April 29th, 2010
10:06 am

Teacher,
It is that sick attitude that you have that is keeping those who would excel from being great. It is obvious from your hateful rant that you lump all students together. We have children of excellence in every school in Clayton. What we need is board members, a superintendent, administrators and teachers of excellence.
Teachers like you need to get out. Stop blaming everyone for your own short-comings and inability to make a difference in the profession. You make it hard for the teachers who really love what they do and the children that they teach. Yes, lots of parents in Clayton are horrific when it comes to the education of their children. Just remember when you are hating on the students, poverty does not determine success. All children can learn regardless of what happens at home if they have teachers who really want to make a difference. Some of the best students come from the worst environments and the worst students come from the best environments. I see it everyday. Yes, I am a teacher too who sees the glass half full. So go ahead and leave so we can teach. That goes for the rest of you who hate Clayton County. I urge you to lead, follow or get the hell out of the way.

cracker

April 29th, 2010
10:56 am

this blog never ceases to amuze me

Focus on Education not Incarceratrion

April 29th, 2010
11:19 am

Larry O’Keefee,

There were no students acknowledged in Clayton for the Gates Scholarship this year. If that is not true please contact AJC for trhe correcrtion. You are so correct we do need balance, my point is there is none. As for elected pubilc safety officials, you seem to have their ear and access, encourage them to deal with all children in matters of bad decisions as was the case with your own son.
Bivins is not serving our district 9 well. We watch the meetings on TV and he has missed almost more meetings than he has attended. If his job is a conflict he should rethink his decision to “serve” us. Thank God he is up for re-election. I pray someone capable and more available will run and win!

You are right about the bad treatment that our elected officials receive. It seems as though that treatment is for Black elected officials who challenge the status quo. There is one white elected official in particular who has been seen drunk and getting in his car to drive home. He is known but I assure you no one will talk about it Black or White. Prayerfully, he won’t hurt some one driving under the influence one of these days.

Focus on Education not Incarceratrion

April 29th, 2010
11:31 am

Larry Okeefee,
I read my blog after sending and I wanted to make one correction. Blacks who maintain the status quo do not get discredited, abused or disrespected either. Ray Charles who is blind and dead can see the dynamics working in Clayton County.

Larry OKeeffe

April 29th, 2010
1:19 pm

Focus on Education not Incarceration,

If you depend solely on the AJC for your facts that may be the reason you are so misinformed. Morrow High School has a young lady who is a recipient of the Gates Scholarship this year. I have confirmed this but will not post her name on this blog out of respect.

I do encourage elected and appointed officials, at every opportunity to deal with all children’s “bad decisions” utilizing understanding and support, incarceration is a last, but sometimes necessary, resort. There are over 100 men in Clayton County that have volunteered to Stand in the Gap for many of these children. You obviously know me, when I post I use my real name and do not hide my hand. I seldom post anymore and almost every time I do post I regret the decision immediately because of comments like the one you made regarding my son. You should know that my son has overcome his “bad decisions” and turned his life around. You can not know the true details of those “bad decisions”; you only know the false rumors and innuendos that were circulated in an attempt to discredit me. To attack someone through their children is despicable and cowardly.

The only meetings on TV are the monthly board meetings. There are work sessions and called meetings that are not broadcast. Check your facts Mr. Bivins has not even come close to missing more meetings than he attends. There are other board members that have missed just as many if not more meetings. If you bothered to attend meetings you would know this.

The disrespect and abuse our elected officials are forced to endure is not limited to any one race, just as hate and bigotry are not limited to one race. Until this county and for that mater this world learns to overcome hate and bigotry we will continue to face unnecessary difficulties because of it. My generation grew up in the ‘60s. We organized, marched and protested against such hatred. Some of my fellows died for it. It is sad that hate and bigotry are so persistent. Hate and Bigotry are not inherited they are learned behaviors. It is attitudes such as yours and others that post on this blog that perpetuate them.

Pray for our Schools

Gary

April 29th, 2010
6:00 pm

I like the direction things are going in Clayton County. I voted to clean house last election. The most important action I took was to get involved in the community and help fund the campaigns of the politicians willing to end the totally inept, and corupt regime that was in office. I just wrote a check to support senator Seay to defeat the just declared candidate Victor Hill. He should never hold another position of public trust. He is an idiot and black people pimp.

Pittbull

April 29th, 2010
7:45 pm

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who some of these posters are. Lee, Victor, Jewel, and the others.

jimmy (conservative brother)

April 30th, 2010
10:17 am

Mary Lou, if you were referring to Clayton County courtrooms, maybe they are filled with blacks because blacks make up a majority of the population. I have also worked in law enforcement and what you quickly recognize in that field is that some black people commit crimes. I had that attitude when I started that I was going to stop all of the “profiling” and racial discrimination that came along with job. How quickly I found out that the world I had been living in wasn’t reality.
I could watch a criminal do something, chase him down, collect the evidence from his person and still the criminal and his family would proclaim his innocence and that the only reason I messed with him was because he was black. That is a tired and worn out excuse. Most law enforcement officers could care less about the color of ones skin. The pure nature of the job requires that you love what you do or you won’t be doing it long and to try and group all law enforcement officers into one racist group shows how bigoted your world is.
Please tell me where you became POST Certified. I would love to go there. If they are using targets with black people on it I can pretend to be offended then get a lawyer and sue. Which is exactly what has happened and is exactly why the only color you are likely to see on a target is gray or green. And you will not see a picture of anyone only a silhouette. Please come with the truth or else people will not take your comment seriously.
If you look for racism everywhere you are likely to find it. I once heard a comedian say that his uncle could find racism anywhere and while they were grocery shopping his uncle pointed at a counter of olives and said, “Why are the black olives in a can?” “Its racism.” That is exactly how you sound when you make statements like the one you made about those targets.

Progressive African American

April 30th, 2010
10:21 am

I don’t understand how the weakest links get into Clayton County Political Offices…strange…

Well it looks like the honorable Abdul Salaam has found a way to get the C-TRAN bill through. http://blogs.ajc.com/gold-dome-live/2010/04/29/c-tran-bill-passes-houses/

If it comes down to a vote – I and many others who read the news and get out to the polls will absolutely not stand for sales tax hike to fund it. I am in no way against public transportation, but again demographics need to be changed from those who ‘completely’ rely on it to those who would use it as an alternative form of transportation. Important days like voting, I can always get in my car and drive to the polls due to time constraints.

Mary Lou

April 30th, 2010
11:08 am

The reason we have few candidates to chose from is the same reason you won’t run! Who in their right mind would run?

whatever

April 30th, 2010
1:32 pm

Well speaking of few candidates to run for political office. Guess who just qualified to run for Commissioner in district 4? Can You say Jewel Scott ,Boys and girls? Can you imagine what will happen to our recovering County if SHE gets elected.? The woman can not think or speak for herself. She is a robot that repeats and does anything her controlling husband tells her to do.
If either Victor Hill or Jewel Scott win the races they are in This County can forget about Any progressive turnaround we are making and revert back to the cesspool they were and are counting on to stay elected.

Progressive African American

April 30th, 2010
3:05 pm

It ought to be a LAW against candidates with poor past records seeking re-election into Public Office! It ought to be a Law I say!

retired teacher

April 30th, 2010
4:20 pm

Elections have consequences! Voteers..read, listen, be educate, No one should promise things that can be delivered. Nothing is free. Any money the federal goveernment “gives back” to us is money we gave them in the first place.
As a result of some better voter choices Lawson is now the DA. The new solicitor is doing a better job than the previous one. Clayton got somethings right.