And just like that...another year as your District Attorney is nearing a close! It has been an amazing journey bringing to fruition my vision of a New DAy for our beloved DeKalb. I remain forever grateful for your vote of confidence and for your willingness to entrust me with this important work…. but we’re not done yet!
We enter 2020 with greater clarity and focus. This year, we encapsulated our mission into three powerful words: Engage. Protect. Restore. This is our commitment to the victims on whose behalf we advocate and the community we serve. While offender accountability remains a focal point, we continue to balance that mandate with advocacy, awareness, prevention/intervention, engagement, and education. We also have taken great care to ensure that we are operating in a manner that is fair, appropriate, and just. To that end, I am proud to have implemented the first-ever Implicit Bias training for our entire staff. It proved to be both thought-provoking and transformative.
This year, I had the opportunity to join thought leaders from around the nation in action-oriented discussions centered on criminal justice reform and study innovations in prosecution both nationally and abroad. On the local front, I was proud to accept the appointment to the First Lady of Georgia’s GRACE Commission aimed at ending the human trafficking epidemic. Stay tuned for more on my team’s efforts to raise awareness in that arena in addition to our ongoing initiatives in the domestic violence prevention and intervention space.
Our trial teams and special units had a number of prosecution successes this year, which I’m continually reminded, are not just measured by securing convictions, but by obtaining just outcomes that impact lives for the better both in and beyond the courtroom. I am super proud of the team we have assembled and the work they are performing with passion and excellence, as evidenced in our features below. It is an honor and a privilege to stand with them in service to you. 
I look forward to connecting with you in the New Year with more exciting news and information from the Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney. 
In the meantime, best wishes and blessings for you and your loved ones this holiday season.

District Attorney
Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit
Tackling Implicit Bias
Prosecutors use their discretion at many different points when handling a case, and those decisions can be impacted by a person’s implicit bias. 

Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.

This year, District Attorney Boston offered a comprehensive eight-hour Implicit Bias training to her entire 200-plus member staff. The training was led by Dr. Bryant Marks, Founding Director and Principal Trainer with the National Training Institute on Race & Equity and one of the country’s leading experts in this arena. 

DA Boston believes it is important to educate her staff about implicit bias to ensure fairness in DeKalb County’s criminal justice system. 

“We all have biases,” said DA Boston. “My priority as District Attorney is making sure the decisions we make in this office each day are fair and just.”

The DeKalb DA’s office is now the first in Georgia to have offered extensive implicit bias training to each staff member, making it a model agency for other prosecution offices seeking to implement similar training. 

NBPA 36th Annual Conference
In July, District Attorney Boston served as the Chair of the National Black Prosecutors Association’s (NBPA) 36th Annual Conference and Job Fair, held in Atlanta. The conference attracted hundreds of participants from prosecution agencies across the country seeking training and insight on a wide array of prosecution strategies, protocols, and best practices. 

The Greater Atlanta Black Prosecutors Association received the organization’s Chapter of the Year award, which was accepted by outgoing president Simone Hylton (pictured below), who serves as a Senior Assistant District Attorney with the DA's Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit.

The conference garnered coverage by WSB-TV, which featured an in-depth interview with DA Boston and her national counterparts discussing criminal justice reform and their impact in their respective communities. Watch the coverage below.
Four leading African-American prosecutors talk about...

DeKalb County DA Sherry Boston put the panel together for the National Black Prosecutors Association conference held in Atlanta

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Bottom photo, L to R: Rockdale County (GA) District Attorney Alisha Adams Johnson, Baltimore City (MD) S tate's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, DA Sherry Boston, Fulton County (GA) Solicitor-General Keith Gammage, State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court (FL) Aramis Ayala, Cook County (IL) State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx, and Cobb County (GA) District Attorney Joyette Holmes.
Appointment to First Lady of Georgia's GRACE Commission
In April, DA Boston was appointed to the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education (GRACE) Commission, a task force created by Georgia’s First Lady, Marty Kemp, to combat human trafficking in the State.

“I am honored to have been selected to participate in this bold initiative and to contribute some of the ideas and insights we are using to combat this issue in DeKalb County,” Boston said. “I appreciate Governor and First Lady Kemp’s commitment to making this issue a priority for our state and the communities we serve.”

The Commission is comprised of 22 public officials, law-enforcement, for-profit and non-profit organizations, healthcare officials, and subject matter experts.
Pre-Trial Justice Initiative
In February, DeKalb’s new Pre-Trial Justice Initiative launched as a collaborative effort between the Office of the District Attorney, The Law Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender, and DeKalb County Magistrate Court. 

In tandem with this initiative, the District Attorney’s Office created a Pre-Charging Unit, led by Deputy Chief ADA Kelly McMichael. The establishment of this Unit allows the DA’s Office to intervene in cases and make assessments at an early stage. Early intervention creates the ability to move low-level cases through the system quickly and make referrals to diversion and treatment programs, reducing the jail population and preventing incarceration when it is not necessary. 
9 th Annual Domestic Violence Symposium and Resource Fair
In October, DA Boston hosted the 9th Annual Domestic Violence and Community Resource Fair in commemoration of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year’s program centered on, Building Bridges, Making Connections: Survivors on the Margin . Participants worked together to develop actionable ways to end the cycle of abuse in DeKalb County and connect survivors with vital resources.

Attendees heard a powerful keynote address from Partrounar Bryant-James, whose younger sister, Patrice Bryant, was murdered by her boyfriend in 2016.

Law enforcement partners, social service providers, community stakeholders, expert facilitators and panelists were on hand to offer insight and provide resources.

“We must all do more to change the attitudes that perpetuate domestic violence,” Boston said. “By coming together as a community to raise awareness we can prevent future cases of abuse, and we can help survivors get the assistance they need. We will continue to fight every day to end this epidemic. Domestic violence is not a private problem. It is OUR problem.”

The event was sponsored by DeKalb County District 5 Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson. DCTV Channel 23 provided television coverage of the event. Watch the rebroadcast here.
DA Boston and 2019 DV Symposium
Keynote Speaker Partrounar Bryant-James.
Funding to Aid in Fight Against Domestic Violence
In October, Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson awarded the District Attorney’s Office $75,000 to provide highly specialized training on strangulation cases. Strangulation is a subset of domestic violence cases that presents unique investigative and prosecutorial challenges and high risk for future lethality. DeKalb County will benefit greatly by partnering with the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention to provide an intensive training to all multidisciplinary team members involved in the investigation, prosecution, intervention and advocacy of domestic violence cases.
DA Case Files
The District Attorney's Office had a number of prosecution successes this year, including the conviction of a former police officer for the shooting death of an unarmed veteran, and the conviction of a serial rapist and killer in a decades-old cold case. Visit our News Gallery to read about our dispositions.
Former DeKalb Police Officer Convicted in Shooting Death of Unarmed Air Force Veteran
In October, former DeKalb County Police Officer Robert Olsen (pictured below), 57, was convicted in connection with the shooting death of 26-year-old Anthony Hill (pictured right). Jurors returned guilty verdicts against Olsen on charges of Aggravated Assault, Violation of Oath by Public Officer, and Making a False Statement. He was subsequently sentenced to 20 years to serve 12, with the balance on probation. 

The charges against Olsen stem from a fatal encounter with Hill on March 9, 2015. Police were summoned to the victim’s apartment to assist Hill, who was unarmed, unclothed, and in the midst of a mental health crisis. Hill was shot and killed as he approached Officer Olsen. State experts testified that by failing to employ the non-lethal resources available during his interaction with Mr. Hill, Olsen responded in a manner that was against protocol and contrary to his extensive training. 

While the victim’s family had hoped for a lengthier sentence, as recommended by the State, Olsen’s conviction and sentence represents a measure of closure in this painful chapter of their lives. 

Major Case Unit Convicts Dangerous Serial Rapist/Killer in Decades-old Cold Case Murder, Rape
Samuel McCullum, 57, was convicted on charges of Murder, Felony Murder (two counts), and Rape (two counts) in connection with two separate DeKalb County cold cases in which one woman was killed and another survived.

He was sentenced to two life terms without the possibility of parole, plus a consecutive life in prison term.
McCullum’s criminal history includes convictions for sexual assault crimes in New Jersey, North Carolina and Kentucky, dating back to 1983. Charges are also pending against McCullum in Fulton County in connection with a 1998 cold case murder and rape.

WSB-TV Investigative Reporter Mark Winne
interviews Major Case Unit
New evidence puts convicted serial rapist back behind bars

Investigators said they got a break after he served time in a case in Kentucky

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L to R: Major Case Unit Director Lance Cross; Bonita Cox, victim's relative (front); DA Investigator Bill Presnell (back); and Senior ADA Shannon Hodder
Awards & Recognition

Third Annual Bipartisan Justice Awards
In September, DA Boston was honored at the Third Annual Bipartisan Justice Awards Reception in Washington, D.C. The event, hosted by the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center, celebrated The Black Woman Prosecutor: Changing the Face of Criminal Justice Reform. DA Boston was honored alongside several fellow female, African-American prosecutors from across the country. 
Bensonetta Tipton Lane Award for Commitment to the Family
DA Boston was recognized by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA) with the Bensonetta Tipton Lane Award for Commitment to the Family, this summer . The award recognizes a GABWA member who has been practicing at least ten years and who has used her professional and personal leadership to strengthen the community through family and child-related programs and initiatives, including those that focus on education, domestic violence, health care, child-advocacy, adoption, and other issues impacting the family.
Safe Families Office Founders’ Awards 
Two members of the District Attorney’s team received Founders’ Awards during the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Safe Families Office (SFO) at the Fulton County Courthouse in February. Chief Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Stolarski was recognized for her work as the architect behind the creation and implementation of SFO, and Director of Victim Services Chastity Rogers was recognized for her dedication in executing the vision of SFO. 
Recognized by FBI Atlanta Field Office 
The District Attorney’s team was recognized by the FBI Atlanta Field Office for work on several joint Task Force investigations. Of note, Senior ADA Chris Timmons and Senior Investigator Crystal Caraballo, assigned to the Anti-Corruption Unit, were commended for their prosecution of a former DeKalb Police Officer accused of orchestrating a theft scheme targeting drug dealers during traffic stops. 
National Organization for Victim Assistance
The District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Assistance Program was named a 2019 Honorary Awardee by the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA). NOVA's mission is to champion dignity and compassion for those harmed by crime and crisis.
Criminal Justice Reform
Through her work with the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution (IIP) and the Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) initiative, DA Boston has become an integral part of the national dialogue on criminal justice reform and innovative prosecution strategies specific to juvenile justice, reentry and accountability initiatives. These organizations bring together elected officials, thought leaders, legal professionals, scholars, and individuals who have been impacted by the justice system to reimagine the system and guide change. 
Reimagining the Role of the Prosecutor in the Community 

DA Boston participated in a fireside chat with former Attorney General Eric Holder and Wesley Caines from The Bronx Defenders during the IIP’s Executive Session on Reimagining the Role of the Prosecutor in the Community . During the session, she also had the opportunity to engage in an informal conversation about the organization's critical work with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to former President Barack Obama.
Fair and Just Prosecution 

In 2019, DA Boston participated in an FJP trip to Portugal to learn from international experts about public health models and harm reduction strategies to address our nation’s overdose crisis. Other members of the group also traveled to Germany to gain insight into their dramatically lower incarceration rates.

In September, DA Boston joined prosecutors from across the country in Montgomery and Selma, Alabama. The group visited numerous sites of historic and civil rights significance, including the Legacy Museum; the National Memorial for Peace and Justice; The Southern Poverty Law Center; Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church; and the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, in an effort to better inform ongoing discussions related to addressing criminal justice inequities. Watch news coverage as "Prosecutors from across U.S. walk Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma."

The group then traveled to DeKalb County where DA Boston and FJP co-hosted a gathering of reform-minded elected DAs and law enforcement leaders from around the country, beginning a necessary conversation about forging alliances to promote needed reforms in our criminal justice system.

Over the course of the year, the group also considered conviction integrity and how to implement best practices that promote just results; and collaborated with people who have been imprisoned to discuss sentencing reform and reimagining a justice system that repairs harm and makes communities healthier and safer.
Gun Violence Prevention
In August, DA Boston participated in a frank discussion about gun violence prevention with former U.S. Representative Gabbie Giffords, U.S. Representative Lucy McBath, and other invited criminal justice leaders from the metro area.
Youth Engagement
DA Boston and her leadership team hosted a conversation with the NFL Players Coalition.The parties exchanged ideas about criminal justice reform and positive youth engagement.
Let My People Go
DA Boston served as a panelist for the discussion, “Understanding the Power of Prosecutors and How to Hold them Accountable,” as part of the Let My People Go: Multi-Faith Conference to End Mass Incarceration.
Exonerated Five
DA Boston attended a special meeting of DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson’s Project Pinnacle, where program participants heard powerful words from Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana of the Exonerated Five. Salaam and Santana shared their experiences related to being wrongfully accused, convicted, incarcerated, and ultimately exonerated of rape and assault charges.
In The Community
In August, DA Boston and her staff spent National Night Out at celebrations with residents and community leaders at Scott-Candler Library in South DeKalb, Doraville, Clarkston, Toney Valley Civic Association and the joint Brookhaven/Dunwoody festivities. The annual community building campaign aims to promote law enforcement-community partnerships and camaraderie in an effort to improve neighborhood safety and quality of life. 
Making #HERstory
This Fall, DA Boston celebrated with County leadership and the community as DeKalb welcomed a new Police Chief, Mirtha Ramos, and a new Sheriff, Melody Maddox.
With these historic appointments, the DeKalb County justice system is now one of the only criminal justice systems in the country led predominately by African-American females.
Pictured above L to R: Chief Magistrate Judge Berryl A. Anderson, Solicitor-General Donna Coleman-Stribling, District Attorney Sherry Boston, Superior Court Chief Judge Asha Jackson, Clerk of Superior Court Debra DeBerry and Sheriff Melody Maddox.
Senior ADA Simone Hylton and Deputy Chief ADA Mirna Andrews represented the DA's Office as speakers at the Advanced Crimes Against Children Conference .
The Child Support (UIFSA- Uniform Interstate Family Support Act) Unit, led by Deputy Chief ADA Kamilah Miller, presented during the 2019 Attorney General’s Office/DHS Child Support Attorneys Training in Savannah.
During Community Day with the Sheriff , the DA’s Office joined forces with partner law enforcement agencies to help DeKalb students get ready for a new school year. 
Investigators Richard Randolph and Patrick Cook joined community members at Toney Elementary School for the annual African-American Male Read-In in celebration of Black History Month.
Staff attended the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy’s annual Change Makers Breakfast .
Staff supported the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence at the 2019 Champions for Change Luncheon .
The DA’s Office hosted students from the Emory University School of Law – Master of Comparative Law Program . The students are licensed attorneys in China studying the differences between the American and Chinese legal systems. 
During Older Americans Month, DA Boston talked to members of the Central DeKalb Senior Center about protecting themselves from elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The Juvenile Division hosted students from Chamblee Police Department’s Junior Police Academy .
Chief ADA Jennifer Stolarski served as a panelist for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta roundtable discussion, “Igniting Potential: Youth Mentoring as a Solution to Juvenile Justice Offending.”
Director of Community Affairs/Deputy Chief ADA of the Crime Strategies & Community Partnerships Unit (CS/CPU), Sonja Brown, discussed Record Restrictions, Accountability Courts and Pretrial Diversion Programs at the 2019 Georgia Legislative Black Caucus (GLBC) Annual Legislative Conference
The Boston Ballers competed
in the 2nd Annual Full Court Press Tournament to benefit DeKalb’s Mental Health Court.
Local & National Media
Watch Georgia D.A. Refuse To Enforce New Abortion Law

A new wave of anti-abortion laws is sparking more than 500 protests across the country, with organizers flooding statehouses, courthouses and city streets in an attempt to stop the passage of draconian abortion legislation in primarily red states.

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Prosecutors not alerted to potential crimes

Suspicious deaths and allegations of mistreatment in senior care facilities can routinely go unreported to law enforcement and prosecutors, a breakdown that allows abusive or neglectful caregivers to escape punishment and continue to work around...

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The Champion
Processing DNA from rape kits 'a game changer'

Dominic Lawton, 33, will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after a jury found him guilty of rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, aggravated sodomy and weapons offenses in connection with sexual assaults against...

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Employee Spotlight
Chastity Rogers, Director of Victim Services, graduated from the Bright Futures Leadership Development Program. Bright Futures is a 10-month intensive training program that is a collaboration between the DeKalb County Government and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.
Director of Communications Yvette Jones, and Special Projects Director Scott Clemens graduated from the 2019 Class of Leadership DeKalb , a leadership development program that convenes and connects leaders, informs them on matters vital to the county and enhances their leadership skills. 
Victim Advocates, Tonesha Bivins and Desiree Livingston graduated from the Georgia Victim Assistance Academy. The training encourages a victim-centered, multidisciplinary, and collaborative approach to supporting those whose lives have been impacted by crime.
2019 DA Office Awards
Attorney of the Year
Agatha Romanowski
Victim Advocate of the Year
Shelbie Rainwater
Investigator of the Year
 Genard Tindal
Trial Assistant of the Year
Patrice Thomas
Staff Member of the Year
Scott Clemens
Paralegal of the Year
Jolene DeVries
Special Unit of The Year
Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault
Trial Division of The Year
Division 4
After a long and patient wait, Trial Graphics Coordinator Troy Cost has received a kidney transplant! Troy has twice been named Employee of the Year, and is a beloved staff member and friend. The entire office has been waiting, and hoping, along with Troy for a kidney to become available.

At the start of this holiday season, Troy received hi s transplant thanks to the generosity of a gracious living kidney donor. Troy and his donor were featured in a video produced by Piedmont Healthcare (link on right) . Everyone in the DA's Office is thrilled for Troy and wishes him well in his recovery.
Kidney Transplant at Piedmont ATL

26-year-old Troy Cost received a new kidney to replace the at-home dialysis machine he’s worn out the last 4 years.

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The Year Ahead
Love Run 5K Registration
The DA's Office is gearing up for the 5 th Annual Love Run 5K on Saturday, February 29, 2020. The Love Run 5K is a family-friendly event for walkers and runners. It's held in February each year to raise awareness of and commemorate Teen Dating Violence Awareness month.

Early bird registration is only $25 until December 31. Register today!

In 2019, the event raised more than $8,000 to benefit the advocacy and prevention programs of the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence.

Take a look at the DCTV coverage from the 2019 race .
Join the conversation @SherryBostonDA