Letters to the Editor - May 27, 2008

Clayton DA candidate responds to Gwinnett DA's charges

To the editor:

The only thing "disgraceful" about the Wesley Harris case is the blood-thirsty attitude of Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter. The fact of the matter is that Porter is still bitter, because the jury did not give Harris the death penalty.

I was prepared to try the Harris case. Specifically, I was prepared not to let Porter ramrod the case through the system the way he wanted. He wanted Harris to get the death penalty for his own selfish, political reasons. I kept Harris alive for five long years while I battled Porter in the courtroom. Wesley Harris ultimately received life imprisonment without parole, which in the eyes of many, including the jury, was the just sentence for his crimes.

It is both ironic and revealing that Danny Porter neglected to mention the many times I defeated his office in trials in Gwinnett County.

Although the Wesley Harris case occurred years ago in Gwinnett County, one has to ask why the Gwinnett County district attorney would choose to headline the case in our community newspaper (in the Friday, May 23 edition).

Why would the Gwinnett County district attorney seek to influence the outcome of the Clayton County district attorney's race? District Attorneys, not unlike certain law enforcement agencies, seek to protect their own.

As we have witnessed in recent weeks, certain Atlanta police officers attempted to cover up the misdeeds of their colleagues. Likewise, Danny Porter is trying to cover up the failures of District Attorney Jewel Scott. The facts remain the same: There is a horrific backlog of unprosecuted cases in the district attorney's office. Despite such a backlog, D.A. Jewel Scott chose to prosecute a highly suspect flag-theft case, rather than prosecute a confessed child murderer. Furthermore, just this week, the media has revealed that her continued ineptitude has led to her office missing a crucial deadline. This failure has convinced yet another grieving family that they cannot obtain justice as long as Jewel Scott is district attorney of Clayton County.

I maintain that I am the most experienced and qualified person in the Clayton County district attorney's race. No other candidate has borne the slings and arrows of defense work in private practice. It is under-appreciated and little-understood work, but it is vital to the justice system. And it is work that gives a district attorney the balanced perspective needed to do his job correctly.

My work in Clayton County has been extensive. At the request of local lawyers, I led the effort to save indigent defense for poor people in the county. In addition, I have coached mock trial at Lovejoy High School for years. I offered my services free of charge to the Clayton Students Coalition challenging the Clayton County school board. I speak frequently at schools, extolling the virtues of hard work and a solid education.

Moreover, as an assistant district attorney, I prosecuted those who committed crimes; as a defense attorney, I defended those who deserved defending. As a judge on the Forest Park Municipal Court, I have dispensed justice equally to all.This is my record, and I refuse to be defined by a bitter district attorney.

Concerned citizens who were fed up with the disastrous current administration asked me to run for Clayton County District Attorney. After much prayer and consultation with my family, I decided to heed the call. In this election, my trust lies with the citizens of Clayton County and in God's will, not with a biased district attorney from distant Gwinnett County.


Candidate for District Attorney