Legislation Creating Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission Becomes Law


Senate Bill 92 , establishing the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC) has been signed into law. The PAQC is expected to serve as an oversight mechanism for district attorneys and solicitors-general across Georgia, ensuring these officials fulfill their constitutional and statutory duties.

SB 92, sponsored by Majority Whip Randy Robertson; co-sponsored by President Pro-Temp John Kennedy; Sen. Larry Walker, III; Sen. Bill Cowsert; Sen. Matt Brass; Sen. Jason Anavitarte; Rep. Joseph Gullett; Rep. Houston Gaines; Speaker Pro-Temp Jan Jones; Rep. Stan Gunter; Rep. Jesse Petrea; and Rep. Matt Gambill – establishes the eight-member Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PACQ). The PAQC has the authority to investigate alleged misconduct by district attorneys and solicitors-general and discipline, remove, or cause the involuntary retirement of those who meet the conditions for removal.

The bill establishes the following grounds for the removal or involuntary retirement of a district attorney or solicitor-general from office:

Mental or physical incapacity that interferes with the performance of duties that is likely permanent;
Willful misconduct in office;
Willful and persistent failure to carry out statutory duties;
Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;
Conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the office into disrepute; or
Knowingly authorizing or permitting an assistant district attorney or assistant solicitor-general to commit any of the aforementioned acts.

The PAQC must also establish standards of conduct and rules for the commission’s governance, subject to approval by the Supreme Court, by October 1, 2023. In addition to the creation of the PAQC, the bill adds to the statutory duties of district attorneys and solicitors-general the requirement to review every case for which probable cause exists and make a prosecutorial decision as to each individual case. The bill also clarifies that a district attorney or solicitor-general’s failure to perform his or her statutory duties shall constitute grounds for a recall.