Republicans Rick Bridgeman, Donna Golden Sikes and Brad Smith are vying for district attorney of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit, which includes Jackson, Barrow and Banks counties.
Bridgeman was named district attorney by Gov. Sonny Perdue in September 2007, after former DA Tim Madison resigned amid allegations of criminal activity.
Since his appointment, Bridgeman said he has resolved a backlog of 2,000 uncharged offenders in his first six months in office. Some of the offenders were indicted, while other cases were dismissed due to a lack of evidence, he added.
Sikes said she has been practicing law for 17 years, representing plaintiffs and defendants. She said both of her opponents were trained by Madison and they ignored signs of corruption in the DA’s office.
Smith said he started his career in Jackson County as an assistant district attorney at the age of 25. His responsibilities included prosecuting felony cases in Jackson County.
The candidates were asked how to restore integrity to the DA’s office, following Madison’s resignation and guilty plea.
Sikes said she’d have an open-door, open-books policy for the office. She also said the DA staff must have ethics and integrity.
“Any kind of wrongdoings won’t be tolerated,” Sikes said. “And that everyone is accountable in the office.”
Smith said the questionable bank accounts opened by Madison weren’t known by staff in the DA’s office until a newspaper opened an investigation.
Those bank accounts were later closed and those funds are audited by the counties, Smith said.
Bridgeman said he has ensured that all records of the DA’s office are open to public inspection. He also publishes a quarterly report of the DA’s case load and financial records.
The candidates were also asked about their actions on animal abuse cases, since those who abuse children typically have a history of abusing animals.
Smith and Sikes said they would prosecute animal abuse cases quickly.
Bridgeman said he couldn’t present the Nicholson “puppy mill” case to the grand jury in May because Jackson County fired the animal control officer who primarily handled the incident. Bridgeman said he expects to present the case to the grand jury in August.
The DA’s office is expecting to move forward with the “puppy mill” case “diligently and appropriately,” Bridgeman said.
All three candidates for DA will face each other in the July 15 primary.
It is of my opinion that this Donna sikes gal is not a
good canidate. besides the ole saying where there is smoke
there is fire.... Isn't she the wife of the ole boy who made death threats to the local mayor?she doesn't have the common care to return something as simple as a phone call either..seems to me that
she is power hungry and is not for the local people in our community