Funding to come from Newton/Walton County and cities of Covington and Monroe
MONROE, GA – (Dec. 22, 2022) – During the month of December, Alcovy Judicial Circuit District Attorney Randy McGinley made the case and solicited the initial funding for a gun/gang violent crime prosecutor. The Alcovy Judicial Circuit covers Newton and Walton County and McGinley asked for $30,000 each from both counties as well as the cities of Covington and Monroe for the 2023 Fiscal Year.
The last municipality that McGinley attended was the Monroe City Council Meeting on Dec. 13. In laying out the case to the City Council, he explained that sharing the cost is one benefit, but the main benefit is freeing up a prosecutor who is not bogged down by an additional case load.
“Courtroom prosecutors in my office have between 150 and 320 active cases at any given moment. Most are in the range of 150-200; however, there are still two courtrooms in Walton with only one prosecutor. Prosecutors not assigned a courtroom, which are four of my senior prosecutors, have a caseload between 50 and 80 cases. They typically handle the more serious violent and sex crimes, but also are responsible for training and supervising less experienced prosecutors as well as other duties,” McGinley said, adding that each of the jurisdictions sharing in the cost of this prosecutor had expressed concern at some time or another over gang and gun violence. “The law enforcement agencies within the Alcovy Judicial Circuit (Newton and Walton) have been taking strides addressing gang and gun violence together. This includes recently obtaining almost $100,000 in grant funding through GEMA to obtain software for all law enforcement agencies within the Circuit for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting gangs, gang members, and other organized crime. This software is used by local and state agencies across Georgia. To fully utilize this software and the joint efforts of law enforcement and the DA’s office, it is important to have a one prosecutor who specializes in handling these cases and prosecutes cases in both counties.”
He told the City Council that the joint funding totaling $120,000 breaks down as follows:
Vehicle Cost: $50,000
Employee Cost: November, 2022 through June, 2023 (8 months): $61,069.33 ($91,604 * 8/12)
Total for FY23: 119,069.33.
McGinley explained that it wouldn’t be quite as costly in subsequent years as the expense of the vehicle would not be immediately required again. The position, however, would require increases in keeping with the other municipalities, but the increased cost would be split the four ways.
There was an issue that McGinley said he hadn’t considered until getting to Monroe, the issue being that Monroe was the only contributor who had a different fiscal year end. Newton County, Walton County and the city of Covington all had an end to their fiscal year of June 30, 2023. Monroe’s 2023 fiscal year, however, runs from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2023. McGinley asked that Monroe consider paying an additional $$12,500 which would be half of the share for the remainder of the 2023.
Despite their concerns, however, not everybody was quick to jump at it. Councilman Larry Bradley questioned why Monroe would pay the same as Walton County when city residents already paid taxes to Walton County. He said it would, in essence, amount to double taxation of the Monroe taxpayers. He also asked why just Monroe and not Loganville as well.
McGinley said the gang and gun violence in Walton County was more concentrated in Monroe as it was in Covington in Newton County. He referred to a death penalty case currently making its way through the Alcovy Judicial Circuit that resulted in the shooting death of two people in the Social Circle area of Walton County. The crime was actually initiated in Monroe. In that case, four defendants are facing charges of malice murder, violation of street gang terrorism and several other charges related to the shooting deaths of James Robert Evans, 27, and Jaymie Whitlock, 32, on Thurman Baccus Road in Social Circle in the early morning hours of May 15, 2020. The two were taken from a home in Monroe before being shot to death in Social Circle.
McGinely said in the case of crime in the city of Loganville, it was actually way below that of Monroe and Covington.
“And much of it from Loganville is not actually Walton County but coming from the Gwinnett area,” McGinley said.
Councilman David Dickinson said he too had some concerns about the double taxation but also agreed that there is a need. He proposed that the Monroe City Council go ahead and approve the first $30,000 for the first year and then see about allocating the additional $12,500 mid-year based on results.
“Make sure to report back regularly,” Dickinson said. “We don’t want to be paying a disproportionate part for this. We need to get feedback and get a result – not just doing some fancy window dressing.”
The City Council passed the motion unanimously, joining the other three entities in funding the new prosecutor. McGinley said he actually has a prosecutor in the Newton County office who he intends to shift over to the gang/gun crime prosecutor. He would then need to hire another prosecutor to replace her.