Browning said he will focus his efforts on three areas: improving communication with law enforcement, creating tougher sentencing guidelines and sending cases to trial in a timely fashion.
“There’s issues of poor communication with law enforcement. We need to be more effective and reliable with communicating with victims,” Browning said. “At the end of the day, the D.A.’s office is going to do what the office is supposed to do – prosecute criminals and protect victims.”
Browning said one noticeable difference will be in sentencing recommendations his office offers to judges.
Browning said he is working to change the overall philosophy regarding sentencing guidelines and said his recommendations would be tougher.
He and his staff are working on new guidelines, but Browning said he doesn’t agree with a “one-size fits all” approach.
He said Georgia’s new Criminal Justice Reform Act would play a large role in guidelines. The act would reduce sentences against many non-violent offenders, he said.
“There’s a move toward trying to reduce the amount of money spent on housing and keeping [non-violent offenders] incarcerated,” he said.
He said many people just don’t understand how much money is involved in maintaining the prison system or the issue of overcrowding that
affects many local and state facilities.
Browning said his focus would turn to placing heavier sentences on violent criminals and crimes against children will get his full attention and swift prosecution.
“I plan on handling them personally,” he said. “If we have crimes against children lying around, I assure you, once I get in office, I will set it as a top priority.”
Browning said he wants justice to move swiftly and plans on getting cases to the Polk County Grand Jury faster. That would lead to cases
going to trial more quickly, he said.
He said, as it is now, a suspect can be arrested several more times before his original case goes to court.
However, Browning said a quick resolution of a case would mean suspects would be serving their sentences more quickly, which would prevent crime.
He said his office would be able to handle all of his expectations.
“Ideally, we deal with what law enforcement brings us,” Browning said, emphasizing his earlier point about communication with police. “Once it goes to the next grand jury, the wheels start turning.”
Browning said there are things slowing the wheels of justice that he can’t control. Those things include the time it takes for the GeorgiaCrime Lab to analyze evidence and find witnesses, Browning said.
He said there have been staff changes in both the administrative and assistant district attorney areas of his offices. Browning said plans are in the works for an open house so that the public can meet his staff.