Vera Institute of Justice Issues Statement on Georgia Bill to Remove District Attorneys from Office without Oversight


Contact: Nico MacDonald |

New York, NY (Feb 1, 2024)—Last year, Georgia lawmakers created the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission and empowered it to sanction prosecutors with oversight by the state Supreme Court over the Commission’s procedures. The law was challenged in court, and the Georgia Supreme Court refused to approve the Commission’s rules, declaring it had “grave doubts” that the bill was constitutional because it might violate separation of powers by asking the state Supreme Court to regulate district attorneys in an unprecedented way.

Nationwide, this is has been one of many efforts by “tough-on-crime” advocates to undemocratically remove elected prosecutors they accuse of neglecting their duties because they refuse to enforce low-level drug offenses and other ineffective policies that research shows often increase crime rates; recidivism; and racial disparities that compromise justice, safety, and community trust in the criminal legal system.

This year, to fix the constitutional problem, State Representative Joseph Gullett introduced House Bill 881, legislation that would remove the requirement that the rules be approved by a third party. This would remove due process altogether. This week, the bill passed 95-75, on a nearly party-line vote. It now moves on to the state Senate as SB 332, where it will likely pass along party lines.

Mona Sahaf, director for the Vera Institute of Justice’s Reshaping Prosecution initiative, said: “District attorneys are elected by residents whose safety is directly impacted by prosecutorial decisions. State legislators should not pass legislation that undermines democracy by removing due process and creating partisan paths to remove elected chief prosecutors and limit their ability to meet the safety needs of their constituents. Instead, legislators should focus on addressing the systemic causes of crime.”

This bill as drafted does not provide due process rights or legal standards to district attorneys and solicitors general who are under investigation or charged with violations. Like the previous bill, this too will more than likely be challenged in court, at great expense to taxpayers. And will likely face the same fate. Georgia has been fortunate to have a considerable tax surplus in the past few years. If its aim is to reduce crime, these funds would be better spent on programs that we know work, such as drug treatment, mental health care, education, and housing. These programs have demonstrated success in addressing the root causes of crime and promoting positive change in communities. By focusing resources on such programs, Georgia can make a meaningful impact on reducing crime while also making a wise investment in the well-being of its citizens.


About Vera Institute of Justice: The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit