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District Attorney race heats up
by bbaldowski@neighbornewspapers.com
July 25, 2012 09:19 AM | 1225 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Tracy Graham Lawson
Although many political races on the July 31 Democratic primary have captured the interest of Clayton County residents, several hold special significance.

Among those is the race for Clayton County district attorney where incumbent Tracy Lawson, who has served in the position since 2008 and is credited with reducing a large backlog of pending cases, has drawn the challenge of Leslie Miller Terry, who has spent 25 years serving in various legal positions, including assistant district attorney and solicitor general as well as a brief stint as a criminal defense attorney.

Lawson believes voters should return her to office as she has accomplished all of her 2008 campaign promises.

“The large case backlog in the district attorney’s office has been eliminated and the average case length shortened, which has saved Clayton taxpayers, in inmate costs alone, more than $2 million,” she said.

This has been done, she added through special programs she developed, including first time non-violent offenders being given a second chance through her pre-trail program.

Miller Terry believes the number of positions she has held in the legal system, including her experience as a criminal defense attorney, “has given me the training and ability to view both sides of a case, as a defense and prosecuting attorney, which has allowed me the insight to properly assess and evaluate the worth of a case and the direction the prosecution should take in handling the case,” she said.

Miller Terry added that, because of her experience in working both sides of cases, “I can bring an element of balance to the criminal justice system, which can only be garnered if one has worked both sides, as I have,” she said, adding that her experience has taught her to be a fair but firm prosecutor.

Lawson, who points to her youth crime prevention efforts through the heavy involvement of her office in Clayton schools, as one of her proudest achievements, said her Child Support Unit has also collected more than $25 million for Clayton County children.

“I have personally and aggressively, prosecuted Clayton’s most violent offenders who have injured and murdered our citizens,” she said.

Miller Terry said she would bring a “common sense approach” to the district attorney’s office while Lawson said she would continue to tweak case management efficiency.

See related story page 3A
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