The Union Recorder

May 1, 2013

City makes municipal court appointments

From staff reports
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — After a closed session Monday, the Milledgeville City Council amended the agenda to make three legal appointments.

Reappointments included David McRee as Milledgeville Municipal Court judge and Carl Cansino as the municipal court prosecuting attorney. Hoganne Harrison-Walton is the newly appointed public defender.

Walton, a Milledgeville native, handles the paralegal program at Central Georgia Technical College as well.

Having an available public defender for those who appear in municipal court and are subject to any kind of incarceration penalty is a Georgia Supreme Court requirement.

City attorney Jimmy Jordan said Georgia law also requires municipalities to submit the prosecuting appointee to the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia (PACGA) within 30 days.

“You have to send that resolution and the name of the individual to that council,” Jordan. “It's used as a clearinghouse to make sure whomever you've identified as a municipal court prosecutor is a member in good standing with the state bar and so forth.”

According to the PACGA website, the 2012 Georgia General Assembly enacted legislation (Senate Bill 352) that requires Georgia cities that have a prosecuting attorney's office for their municipal court to submit copies of the resolution or ordinance creating the office to the Council.

Hiring or having a municipal prosecuting attorney is still up to the discretion of each individual city, unless required by the city's charter. For municipalities that do have municipal prosecuting attorneys, the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council has established a central registry for prosecuting attorneys of Georgia municipal courts. Once the office and prosecutors are registered, their attorneys become eligible to attend relevant training programs.

Municipal prosecuting attorneys, previously called the city solicitor, are now included into the Code of Georgia for the first time. Prior to the legislation, state law did not recognize municipal prosecutors nor did it specify their duties and responsibilities. The 2012 law standardizes practice and procedure for prosecuting attorneys among Georgia's 500 cities.

The Milledgeville Municipal Court oversees all misdemeanor traffic cases, violations of city ordinances and some misdemeanor state cases. Municipal court is held every Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. in the courtroom at the James Baugh Public Safety building.