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DA Deborah Gonzalez Issues Statement on Appeals Process

DA Deborah Gonzalez

District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez issuing a statement after Chief Judge David Emerson rejected her appeal of his denial of a motion to throw out a writ of mandamus against her office. Gonzalez is now appealing that writ directly with the Georgia Court of Appeals. In a declaration, Gonzalez issued a confession to judgement, which states she is not admitting or agreeing to any factual or legal conclusion in the lawsuit filed by Athens business owner Jarrod Miller, but that she will continue to comply with her statutory duties.
That confession to judgement temporarily stops proceedings until the court of appeals issues a response.

For Immediate Release: DA Gonzalez’s Statement on the Writ of Mandamus Confession of Judgment 

It is unfortunate that the Superior Court rejected my request for immediate interlocutory review of the order denying the dismissal of the writ of mandamus, which would have allowed the Georgia Court of Appeals to rule on these issues now. If Mr. Miller’s theory of the writ is permitted to proceed, it would authorize a judicial challenge to every discretionary decision of a public official within the judicial branch and cause massive disruption to the functioning of the judicial process.

Indeed,Mr. Miller’s pursuit of mandamus and litigation has already caused unnecessary, negative, and massive disruption to the functioning of the District Attorney’s Office, resulting from an overwhelming number of discovery and open records requests and other litigation tactics and subpoenas to sitting judges and other government employees. None of that is in the best interest of the citizens of the Western Judicial Circuit, nor is it an appropriate use of taxpayer resources. This unprecedented use of mandamus by Mr. Miller implicates important public policy questions regarding the limits of prosecutorial discretion and, more important, whether private citizens may use the compulsory process of the courts to challenge the policy decisions of elected prosecutors.

Pursuing an expedited direct appeal is in the best interest of the Western Judicial Circuit District. Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 9-12-18(a), provides that “[e]ither party has a right to confess judgment without the consent of his adversary and to appeal from such confession without reserving the right to do so in cases where an appeal is allowed by law.” To avoid continued and needless disruption to my office’s attempts to do our job effectively, I have elected to utilize this statutory right and proceed directly to appeal.

By confession to judgment, I am not admitting or agreeing to any factual allegation or legal conclusion made by Mr. Miller as part of his lawsuit. My confession to judgment merely provides that a mandamus order may issue to require that I comply with my statutory duties under O.C.G.A. § 15-18-6, which I have already been doing since my first day in office. 

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!