The integrity of all criminal cases in my office is the utmost priority to me. This recent situation in which particular evidence was damaged and not properly turned over to prosecutors is concerning to both the Sherriff and to me.
Today, I announced the formation of a task force to review all murder cases and their collected evidence, that occurred prior to the formation of the District Attorney’s in house Intake Investigative Unit, which was formed in the third quarter of 2022. Review priority will begin with the cases involving a former Bibb County Sheriff’s Deputy. Along with the Sheriff’s Office, my team will audit these cases to ensure all evidence has been properly provided to prosecutors so that we, in turn, can provide the required discovery to the defense attorneys.
Under the law, prosecutors are responsible for evidence in the possession of police even if we are unaware that it exists. A case cannot be investigated and prosecuted in the proper manner without a strong partnership between law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office, particularly for the serious violent felony crimes. A prosecutor’s reliance on law enforcement’s investigation is, therefore, both reasonable and necessary. In the vast majority of cases, things operate as they should. When they do not, as in this case, we will always address the situation with law enforcement and do what is necessary to minimize those errors in the future.