JAMES Magazine Online: Federal Judge Blasts, Sanctions Savannah DA

Phil Kent

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

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Criticism of Georgia district attorneys accused of prosecutorial abuse of office has been on the rise in recent years. The latest case involves Chatham County District Attorney Shaleena Cook James. 

Federal Judge R. Stan Baker, in a 50-page order, hammered the Savannah DA with tough sanctions. One sentence in the order basically tells the story: ”Cook Jones repeatedly and willfully disregarded her discovery obligations and the Court’s Orders even after the Court modified its deadlines to accommodate her.”  

Baker’s order went on to declare that Cook Jones provided false information to the court and that she is to be punished. 

The judge ordered the prosecutor’s responses to a discrimination lawsuit to be deleted from the court record and the DA is ordered to pay all plaintiff’s costs, fees and expenses. Perhaps The Current website best sums this case up: “For the next 49 pages, Baker set out a detailed timeline of transgressions and even more direct language to back up the ruling. While the order doesn’t end the case itself, it sets up problems for Cook Jones in fighting the rest of the case and down the road in other proceedings, not to mention credibility with voters.” 

The Current’s Margaret Coker writes about the ruling, which she says comes at a time when the Chatham DA’s office is under tough scrutiny for a variety of reasons including case management and staffing. Read her story here.