Chief assistant district attorney Brian Patterson said he's ready to take over for his boss, Ken Mauldin, and run no matter when Gov. Brian Kemp calls an election.
Mauldin recently announced his resignation, which will make Patterson the interim DA effective Mar. 1 unless Kemp appoints someone else in the meantime.
I chose to run for District Attorney because I love our community, and I am committed to keeping it safe, while safeguarding the individual rights and liberties of all persons. I value the democratic process and welcome the opportunity to make the case to voters that I am the right choice for District Attorney because of my extensive, lengthy experience as a real prosecutor. I believe that I have the proven experience, leadership, and commitment to be the next District Attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit. I am especially proud that right here in Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties, we have successfully implemented pioneering criminal justice reform that serves as a model for the rest of the state while making our community’s safety our top priority.
While I was surprised by Ken Mauldin’s decision to retire at the end of this month, I look forward to showing voters how I will lead by serving Athens Clarke and Oconee counties as interim District Attorney beginning March 1. I am ready to run the office on Day One because of my nearly 18 years as an actual prosecutor here and my proven experience in criminal courtrooms. I have personally tried more than 100 felony and misdemeanor trials to a jury verdict and have litigated more than 150 appeals in the appellate courts. No matter when there is an election, I am prepared to make my case to voters. In the meantime, I intend to do my job at the highest level and to serve this community every day as interim District Attorney.
After Mauldin's announcement, candidate Deborah Gonzalez raised the alarm that, under an obscure law passed in 2018, Kemp could push the DA election from this year to 2022 by waiting until after May 3 to appoint a replacement for Mauldin. That means Athens voters would have to wait two and a half years to choose their own top prosecutor.
Patterson's statement includes two implicit swipes at Gonzalez: She is a lawyer, but has no experience practicing criminal law (although she would say she has experience with criminal justice policy as a former state representative and can hire people to try cases in the courtroom). And her platform is based around criminal justice reform, such as decriminalizing marijuana and ending cash bail.