Appalachian Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee was sworn in this morning at the Fannin County Courthouse by Judge Brenda Weaver. Family and friends gathered for the event, filing into the courtroom, filling the seats and lining the walls. Cameras flashed through out the event, documenting the historical occasion.
Before the oath, Judge Weaver spoke on the office of district attorney, underscoring its responsibility. Weaver explained that it is not the duty of the district attorney to get a 100 percent conviction rate, but to serve justice.
“That’s what you are charged to do,”
she said, turning to Sosebee,
“To serve the people, whether they be rich, poor; whether they be white, black, purple, red or yellow. You’ve been given the opportunity. And in a few minutes you will take the oath agreeing to do so.”
The Judge delivered two oaths: the oath of office and the loyalty oath. Hand on The Holy Bible, Sosebee swore to uphold the duties of office, the Georgia Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.
After taking the oath, Sosebee said she was humbled by the amount of support she received through out her campaign, from people who believed what she believed, that a change needed to be made in the district attorney’s office. She went on to thank those who supported her and encouraged her through the process. This will be Sosebee’s first term as district attorney, replacing Former District Attorney Joe Hendricks.
In an exclusive FYN interview following the event, Sosebee said she and her staff have done a re-organization of the DA’s Office. She also said she feels she and her staff can move more cases through the system in a timely and efficient manner. Overall, though, Sosebee said she wanted justice to be served.
Also, Sosebee recently selected Greg Arp as her Chief Investigator. The new district attorney said she has known Arp for several years, but said she selected him for his exemplary credentials.
“The most important qualities in terms of making a decision for him to be the chief investigator (are) the years of experience, his reputation (and) frankly what I know his work ethic to be and the way he approaches cases.”
Before he was tapped as chief investigator, Arp served as Chief of Police of East Ellijay. Arp has also served as Fannin County Deputy Sheriff, Senior Investigator at DeKalb County Juvenile Court Solicitor’s Office and Patrol Officer for the City of Blue Ridge.
Despite filling the chief investigator position, though, Sosebee said her office will begin 2013 understaffed, explaining that the state has instituted a two-month hiring freeze. She went on to say her focus for the first two months is to have a functioning staff. Following this period, though, she will start hiring for available positions, but stressed adding assistant district attorney’s to the staff.
So, what happens on day one? For Sosebee, her first order of business is determining the case count as of January 1, 2013.
“What I would like to see in the first part of my term,”
“is to go through and look at all the existing cases and evaluate them and determine whether or not we believe there is legally admissible evidence that would lead to a conviction.”
She also said she and her staff have re-structured the way cases are evaluated.
Ms, Sosebee appeared energetic and up to the future challenge of her office.
“I look forward to serving the people of Fannin, Gilmer, and Pickens Counties with fairness and integrity as your district attorney,”