The Stain Of Fani: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Signs Law To Discipline 'Rogue' Prosecutors Amid DA Willis Controversy

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Mar 17, 2024 - 06:00 PM

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a bill into law that revives an oversight panel with powers to discipline and remove wayward county prosecutors, and which could potentially target alleged misconduct by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in her case against former President Donald Trump.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government building in Atlanta on Aug. 14, 2023. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Mr. Kemp signed SB 332 into law on March 13, saying at a signing ceremony that the community suffers and property is put at risk when “out-of-touch” public prosecutors put politics ahead of public safety.

This legislation will help us ensure rogue or incompetent prosecutors are held accountable if they refuse to uphold the law,” Mr. Kemp said.

“As we know all too well, crime has been on the rise across the country, and is especially prevalent in cities where prosecutors are giving criminals a free pass or failing to put them behind bars due to lack of professional conduct,” he added.

Mr. Kemp initially signed related legislation in May 2023, which established the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PACQ), with the governor saying at the time that the panel would discipline “far-left” prosecutors who make communities less safe by being soft on crime.

However, the panel was unable to start operating after the state Supreme Court in November 2023 declined to approve rules for its governance, with justices saying in their ruling that they had “grave doubts” whether adopting the standards and rules was within their constitutional powers.

So the Georgia General Assembly passed HB 881 in January 2024, which revived the oversight panel while removing the requirement for Supreme Court approval. The bill then was referred to the state Senate, where it became SB 332.

Focus on Willis

While the bill mirrored efforts in other states to hold “rogue” prosecutors accountable for refusing to prosecute certain crimes, Democrats opposed to its passage said it could be used to target prosecutors involved in the case against President Trump, including Ms. Willis.

The commission will be able to unilaterally proceed and have the ability to interfere and undermine an ongoing investigation against Donald J. Trump,” state House Minority Whip Sam Park, a Democrat, told The Associated Press when the House version of the measure passed.

“You are taking action to protect former President Trump from an ongoing criminal prosecution,” he alleged.

Ms. Willis has been accused of an “improper” relationship with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor in the election interference case against the former president and over a dozen co-defendants. She also faced conflict-of-interest allegations that she benefited from the relationship financially.

While defendants in the case moved to have both prosecutors disqualified, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled on Friday that either Mr. Wade or Ms. Willis must remove themselves from the case.

Mr. Wade said Friday that he would resign, leaving Ms. Willis—who faces a separate campaign finance ethics probe and possible contempt of Congress proceedings—at the helm of the case, which President Trump has denounced as a politically-driven “witch hunt.”

The prosecutor oversight panel that Mr. Kemp’s signature has established provides an additional tool that could target Ms. Willis as she faces continued scrutiny.

Ms. Willis’ office did not respond to a request for comment on the bill.

Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns, a Republican, told The Associated Press that the measure isn’t directly focused on Ms. Willis or any one individual.

“For us in the House our focus is not on any one person, not on any one situation,” Mr. Burns told reporters after Mr. Kemp signed the bill into law. “It’s about asking the folks that are elected, just like me, to do their jobs and protect the citizens of this state.”

Fight Against ‘Rogue’ Prosecutors

Georgia law mandates that a prosecutor must consider every case for which probable cause exists and can’t exclude categories of cases—such as marijuana possession or abortion-related offenses—from prosecution.

HB 881 and its Senate version SB 332 lay out grounds for discipline, removal, or “involuntary retirement” of wayward prosecutors, including for engaging in “willful misconduct” or for being convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude” or persistently failing to carry out their duties.

Besides removing the need for Supreme Court oversight, the law adjusts the standard for mental or physical incapacity, allows appeals to a local superior court judge, and permits appeals to any county where the prosecutor has worked.

The establishment of the new commission comes as Republicans fight against what they describe as leftist “rogue” district attorneys who refuse to prosecute certain crimes.

The inability to ensure public safety and protect communities is occurring at every level of state government,” U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Scott Fitzgerald (R-Wis.) wrote in an op-ed in 2022.

“By cracking down on rogue prosecutors who favor criminals over victims, we can ensure that no one else is put in harm’s way as a result of Democrats’ negligence,” they wrote. 

In much the same vein, President Trump has vowed to target prosecutors who are lax on crime if he wins the 2024 presidential race.

Soros prosecutors appear to be engaging in selective enforcement based on illegal racial discrimination” in places such as Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, President Trump said in a video posted to his YouTube channel in April 2023.

He was referring to left-wing billionaire financier George Soros, who has provided millions of dollars in campaign contributions to progressives Democrat district attorneys.

“They are Marxist in many cases,” President Trump said, while pledging to appoint about 100 U.S. attorneys who are the “polar opposite” of the “Soros district attorneys and others being appointed around the United States.”

President Trump said that those officials will be the “most ferocious legal warriors” who will target the worst “communist corruption” the country has ever seen.