2021 has been another year for the history books. We began to slowly emerge from the grips of Covid and return to some sense of “normalcy.” After working remotely for nearly two years, our Office resumed in-person operations at full capacity in October.

Whether virtual or in-person, the work has remained constant. 2020 taught us valuable lessons about how to employ innovation and reimagine work processes amid ever-changing circumstances. While in-person proceedings have resumed, we continue to engage via video conferencing to conduct certain hearings and perform other important and mandatory legal functions, as necessary and appropriate.

Trials across all of our units and divisions resumed in earnest. Of particular note, our Special Victims Unit, which handles domestic violence, sexual assault, and child and elder abuse/exploitation cases, closed the year with a 100% conviction rate. In fact, our team saw an increase in domestic violence cases during the pandemic, which prompted us to change our public awareness and outreach approach. Instead of offering a virtual version of our annual DV symposium, we opted to provide a series of educational videos offering critical DV information and resources, with the hope of stemming the tide of this epidemic and saving lives.

We formed new units aimed at tackling gun violence and strengthening investigations, and championed issues related to prosecutor accountability, implicit bias training, and diversion opportunities. We also recognized our team for their work excellence and celebrated them for awards and accolades away from the courthouse.

I remain proud of our efforts to continue moving justice forward, alongside our criminal justice partners, despite the constraints of the pandemic. It is still unclear what the long-term impact on our operational structure will be as a result of this health crisis, but we remain flexible in our ability to adjust our operations model as necessary.

Finally, as we close out this year - the first of my second term, I remain committed to our vision of a better, safer DeKalb. Thank you for entrusting me with this role, and this work, on your behalf. It is indeed my honor and my privilege to serve!

Wishing you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season!

District Attorney
Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit
Second Term Priorities

In 2017, District Attorney Boston began her first term with the promise of a “New DAy” in DeKalb County. The focus now shifts to second-term priorities and accomplishing goals and initiatives centered on the DA’s vision and mission.

Here’s a quick look back…and ahead.
Moving Criminal Justice Forward
New Units Formed to Tackle Gun Violence and Bolster Investigations
DA Boston has launched two new units within her office aimed at combatting gun violence and enhancing investigations through technology.

The first of its kind in Georgia, the Firearm Violence Prevention Unit will employ an attorney, investigator, victim advocate, and a social worker. The team will work collaboratively with other units in the office to reduce the proliferation of gun violence in the DeKalb community. The Unit will focus on identifying gang members and others in illegal possession of guns; work with federal partners to investigate firearms cases with a domestic violence component and bring federal charges, as appropriate; and engage the community on firearm safety, education, and violence prevention strategies.

The Digital Forensics Unit, comprised of an attorney and a crime analyst, will enhance the Office’s ability to capture and analyze evidence associated with digital technology, including computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices that are often integral elements to a successful prosecution.

The nearly $1.5 million dollar price tag for personnel and equipment for the establishment of the new units is being paid for through the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners’ allotment of American Rescue Program (ARP) funds.

In the News
DA Boston's voice was front and center this year on several important topics ranging from the importance of implicit bias training for prosecutors to the implementation of policies that address the root causes of crime.
DA Boston Leads Effort to Revise State Bar Rules of Conduct Governing Prosecutor Behavior, Stiffening Penalties for Violators

March 24, 2021

“This was an opportunity to look in the mirror and see how we as prosecutors could hold ourselves accountable for our actions,” said DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, who chaired the panel making the revisions. “It gives everybody the playbook and roadmap they have to adhere to.”

September 1, 2021

"I am proud to lead the first prosecution office in Georgia to require all of its employees, regardless of job function, to complete 8 hours of mandatory implicit bias training. Since its inception, the course has been offered annually and is mandatory for every new employee who joins our team."
Opinion: It’s Time to Change How We Prosecute Drug Crimes
November 20, 2021

The AJC published an op-ed on drug prosecution in November that DA Boston co-authored with Alissa Heydari, Deputy Director of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution (IIP) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"As prosecutors, we must change our policies: we cannot fulfill our pledge to public safety without taking a public health approach to drug-related crimes."
Earlier in the year, DA Boston participated in a Prosecution and Public Health working group with IIP, which culminated in the publication of, A New Approach: A Prosecutor’s Guide to Advancing a Public Health Response to Drug Use. View the report and additional materials.
Data for Progress Report
DA Boston is part of a national movement of prosecutors implementing smart, fair policies that address the root causes of crime. She was featured as one of only 19 offices nationwide in a recent study by Data for Progress, Leading the Charge to Reimagine Public Safety.

Read more to learn about policies to keep communities safer AND keep people out of prisons.
Indictments & Dispositions
Man Charged with Attempted Murder and Additional Offenses in June Stabbing Attack of Pregnant Woman Along Brookhaven Trail
According to the investigation, the victim and her young son were walking along the Peachtree Creek Greenway Trailhead, when a stranger approached and attempted to speak with the woman. After a brief interaction, the victim and her son walked away from the man and headed towards their vehicle. The woman suddenly felt a sharp pain in her back as she was struck by the assailant’s weapon.

Man Pleads Guilty in 2018 Vehicular Homicide of 18-year-old College Student Home for Mother’s Birthday
The fatal incident happened on October 13, 2018 in the 2900 block of Klondike Road in Lithonia. The victim was stopped at a traffic light in her Honda Civic behind three other stationary vehicles when the defendant slammed into the rear of the victim’s vehicle in a Mercedes Benz at a speed of 46 miles per hour. There was no indication the defendant ever attempted to stop.

Perpetrator Pleads Guilty in 1997 Cold Case Sexual Assault Solved Through Work of Georgia Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Task Force
The incident happened on May 10, 1997 at a home on Harts Mill Road in Atlanta. The victim awoke in the middle of the night and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. When she arrived in the kitchen, the defendant appeared wielding a knife. The victim screamed while he pushed her to the ground and tied her wrists, then forced her to her bedroom where he sexually assaulted her before fleeing in her vehicle. The case sat cold until the defendant was identified as a suspect in May 2020 following a positive DNA match to the sexual assault kit that was collected at the time of the crime.

Life in Prison for Man Convicted of Shooting and Killing Wife While Their Children Waited in a Nearby Car
The fatal incident occurred on March 31, 2017 at the defendant’s Panthersville Road apartment complex in Decatur. The defendant and the victim had been in a relationship for more than 13 years and had four children together. The victim and children resided in South Carolina. On the day of the fatal incident, the victim traveled to Georgia with the children. When they arrived, she knocked on the door of the defendant’s second floor apartment, he opened the door and shot her. The defendant carried the victim down the stairs, asked a bystander to call 911, and threw the gun behind the apartment building. The children were waiting in the car for their mother.

To read more about recent dispositions and news from the DA’s Office, visit the News section of our website.
In the Community
DeKalb County Sexual Assault Response Team Protocol & Child Abuse Protocol Adopted
On December 15, DA Boston hosted a signing ceremony to commemorate the adoption of the 2021 Sexual Assault Response Team Protocol and the 2021 Child Abuse Protocol.

Each judicial circuit is required by law to establish a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and adopt a protocol. The overall purpose of the protocol is to ensure coordination and cooperation between all agencies involved in sexual assault cases in an effort to increase the effectiveness and
efficiency in handling these cases. Upon adoption, the committee is responsible for meeting at least annually to review, evaluate and modify the protocol as necessary.
DA Boston pictured with signing members
of the Child Abuse Protocol.
Similarly, each judicial circuit is required by law to establish a Child Abuse Protocol (CAP) committee and to adopt the DeKalb County CAP. Similar to the SART protocol, the overall purpose is to ensure coordination and cooperation between all agencies involved in child abuse cases.

“This is more than a ceremonial process,” said Boston. “There are real life consequences to following these statutory mandates. Creating and maintaining clear responsibilities for the agencies that come into contact with sexual assault and child abuse cases can vastly improve outcomes for survivors of these horrific crimes.”
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Campaign
Domestic violence cases are increasing in both number and severity. The need to disseminate critical, life-saving information and resources is perhaps more crucial than ever.

In October, DA Boston's team commemorated Domestic Violence Awareness Month by producing a series of educational videos that contain warning signs, resources, and helpful information about domestic violence cases in the criminal justice system.
Here’s a look at the topics covered:

Week 1

What is DV, Where to Find Help, Providing Support

Chastity Rogers
Director of Victim Services

Week 1
Spanish version

Violencia Doméstica, Apoyo a Sobrevivientes & Recursos

María L. Callava 
Representante de víctimas

Week 2

Myths and Misperceptions About DV Investigations

Jennifer Waindle
DA Investigator, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit

Week 3

How DV Cases Proceed Through the Court System

Edward Chase
Director, Special Victims Unit
Joanna Helsby
Deputy Chief, Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Unit

Week 4

Temporary Protective Orders and the Relief/Protection They Provide

Jennifer Stolarski
Chief Assistant/Chief of Staff
Toni Roberts
Executive Director, DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week this past April, the DA's Office shone a spotlight on its tireless team of Victim-Witness Assistance Program advocates who have continued to support victims of crime over the last year with creativity and compassion.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month Forum
In April, DA Boston's team hosted a Sexual Assault Awareness Month forum exploring the intersection of sexual assault and human trafficking titled, “Sexed and Trafficked: Protecting our Youth.”

Youth panelists and subject matter experts shared eye-opening information with viewers. Thank you to event partners, Agnes Scott College, the DeKalb County Office of Youth Services, Decatur Prevention Initiative and Tapestri.
AAPI Listening Event

In March, DA Boston participated in a listening session with the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, hosted by the City of Doraville. Residents and business owners had the opportunity to share concerns about safety and policing with city and county leaders.

DA Boston participated in the first DeKalb Juneteenth celebration this summer. The DeKalb County CEO and Board of Commissioners established Juneteenth as an official county holiday in July 2020.
Coming Up
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month Forum 
Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 1-2:15 p.m.
Join DA Boston for the third annual Human Trafficking Forum, "Human Trafficking, Social Media, and Gangs: Connecting the Dots.”

The event will feature a presentation about current trends in the recruitment of children online, as well as a panel discussion with law enforcement officials and resource providers.

Registration Now Open for the 7th Annual Love Run
Saturday, February 26, 2022


Join DA Boston for the 7th Annual Love Run 5K, in commemoration of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. All proceeds will benefit the Women's Resource Center to End Domestic Violence (WRC). The event will feature both a virtual option and a live race. COVID protocols, per CDC guidelines, will be in place at the in-person event. All participants will receive a signature long sleeved shirt and race medal as well as a $10 off coupon to Big Peach.

Register here. Use Code EARLYBIRD by 12/31/2021 to receive $5 off of registration!

10% DISCOUNT for Groups of 10 or more: Grab your friends & family, Peloton group, running club, or virtual training group and register today for 10% off race registration.
The 2021 event…the first virtual Love Run…was a huge success!
Thank you to all who participated in the 6th Annual Love Run, which was expanded to a Love Run, Walk & Roll 5K. The event welcomed more than 300 runners, walkers, bike riders, swimmers…and even roller skaters…from all over the country! More than $13,500 was raised for WRC – the second highest fundraising year in the history of the Love Run! 
People & Accomplishments
Division III ADA & Investigator of the Year
Two members of DA Boston’s team took home top honors at this year’s Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia Conference.

Shannon Hodder, assigned to the Major Case Unit, was named Assistant District Attorney of the Year (Division III) by the District Attorney’s Association of Georgia (DAAG).

Scott Clemens, former Director of Operations and Special Projects, was selected as Investigator of the Year (Division III).
Georgia PRSA Phoenix Award
The DA's Office Department of Communications and External Affairs has been named a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Georgia “Phoenix Award” Winner for the 2021 reimagined “Love Run, Walk & Roll 5K” communications campaign.

The department includes Yvette Jones, Director of Communications & External Affairs, and Lisa Myers, Deputy Director of Communications.

The Phoenix Awards recognize projects and programs that demonstrate excellence in the public relations profession.
Leadership DeKalb 2022
Mirna Andrews, Deputy Chief ADA of the Sexual Exploitation & Crimes Against Children Unit, and Chastity Rogers, Director of the Victim-Witness Assistance Program, were both selected for Leadership DeKalb’s Class of 2022.

Founded in 1986 by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, Leadership DeKalb is one of the metro area’s premiere leadership development programs. Through its robust curriculum, the program connects, educates, and trains leaders from a cross-section of industries throughout the region with the purpose of assisting them with impacting and transforming the communities in which they live, work, and serve from a leadership-informed and inspired perspective.
DeKalb County Bright Futures Leadership Development Program
Peggy Rémy, Victim-Witness Assistance Program Supervising Advocate for the Special Victims Unit, graduated from the DeKalb County Bright Futures Leadership Development Program on the Aspiring Managers track. Bright Futures is a year-long training program that prepares employees with demonstrated leadership potential for higher level opportunities. The program is a collaboration between DeKalb County Government and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. 
15 Year Service Awards
Congratulations to Jennifer Stolarski, Chief Assistant District Attorney & Chief of Staff, Deborah Wellborn, Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney of the Appeals Unit, and Kelly McMichael, Director of Operations & Special Projects, for each receiving awards for 15 years of service to the State of Georgia.
Lisamarie Bristol, Senior ADA, Crime Strategies & Community Partnerships Unit, was named President for the Greater Atlanta Black Prosecutors Association (GABPA).
Shelbie Rainwater and Dallas Heimer, both Victim Advocates in the DA’s Office, were named Co-Chairs of the DeKalb Domestic Violence Task Force.
Lisa Moultrie, Deputy Chief ADA, Diversion & Community Alternatives Program, recently completed her term as President of the Junior League of DeKalb County.
In December, the DA’s Office bid a bittersweet farewell to three of its valued and long serving team members.

Administrative Specialist, Debra Brandon, and Investigators Mike Baker and Bill Presnell retired after having each worked 24 years for DeKalb County.

During her annual employee awards program, DA Boston expressed immense gratitude for the retirees’ contributions to the District Attorney’s Office and for their service to the citizens of DeKalb County.
2021 Staff Awards
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