Violation of Victim’s Rights
The mother of an alleged victim asserted that the District Attorney’s Office violated O.C.G.A. 17-17-11 in failing to provide them with an opportunity to express an opinion on the disposition of the accused’s case.
The case was set for trial starting on April 17, 2023, but the District Attorney’s Office failed to properly subpoena the forensic interview. The defense announced ready and the Court announced the District Attorney’s Office needed to get the witness subponed and available for trial. The prosecutor seemed unwilling to require the forensic interviewer despite the fact she had received a subpoena that day for later in the week. The Court indicated the case needed to proceed. Quite surprisingly, the prosecutor then announced that he was going to dismiss the case and apparently decided they would not attempt to re-indict him on the same charges. The Court record reflects no involvement of the victim or her family in this colloquy involving the dismissal of serious felony charges.
The District Attorney’s Office has admitted to violating the rights of the movant and the minor victim. They agreed to recuse their office from the case, as well as, another case pending against the same accused. As a result, the Court has requested the District Attorney’s Office to request assistance from the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Counsel for Georgia and a special prosecutor will be assigned. The District Attorney’s Office requested that a subpoena issued against her office concerning the case be quashed, but same was denied by the Judge.
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Counsel of Georgia (PAC) filed a response in the case on June 1, 2023. The response clarified PAC’s position that District Attorney’s Office had the authority to voluntarily recuse itself and that it was in the process of trying to designate a conflict-free prosecutor to handle the other criminal case involving the Defendant.
On June 7, 2023, the alleged victim’s mother filed a Motion for Contempt against Deborah Gonzalez based on her failure to comply with the Court’s order from May 19, 2023. One of the chief complaints is the failure of Ms. Gonzalez to provide certain information regarding the case file that was ordered to be produced. Interestingly, Ms. Gonzalez is claiming she lacks “access” to the case file due to her recusal.
On June 29, 2023, Randy McGinley, District Attorney for the Alcovy Circuit (Walton and Newton County) filed his Notice of Appointment as District Attorney Pro Temp and Entry of Appearance. A few days later, he filed a Motion to Vacate Nolle Prosequi on July 7, 2023. The Court granted the request for DA McGinley on July 7, 2023 to reinstate the charges against Mr. Brown despite the prior nolle prosequi which was found to be improvidently granted.
Relevant Court Pleadings
Order Granting Motion to Vacate Nolle Proseque
Motion to Vacate Nolle Prosequi
Notice of Appointment as District Attorney Pro Temp and Entry of Appearance
Brief of DA Gonzalez Regarding Contempt
Motion for Contempt for Non-Compliance with Court Order Regarding Marsy’s Law Violation
Order after Hearing on Marsy’s Law Violation
Hearing Transcript on Marsy’s Law Violation – May 19, 2023
Partial Transcript from Jury Trial (prior to dismissal by District Attorney’s Office)