Greetings from Your District Attorney
S H A L E N A C O O K J O N E S
I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was eight. In my mind, lawyers were as close to superheroes as real people could get. Even though I had only met one lawyer by then, the experience had a lasting impression on me and left me thinking that the lawyer's sole purpose in life was to help people navigate the darkest hours of human crisis and personal controversy. This one idea has guided my journey as a lawyer for the past two decades and makes me proud to be a member of this noble profession.
I am not just proud to be a lawyer; I am proud to be a prosecutor. Unlike other lawyers whose sole duty is to advocate for their client, the prosecutor’s duty is to the People. According to the Georgia Rules of Conduct, “a prosecutor has the responsibility of being a minister of justice, and not simply that of an advocate.”
“The primary responsibility of a prosecutor is to seek justice, which can only be achieved by the representation and presentation of the truth. This responsibility includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that the guilty are held accountable, that the innocent are protected from unwarranted harm and that the rights of all participants, particularly victims of crime, are respected.”
The prosecutor is duty bound to seek outcomes that are fair and just under the law according to the evidence and circumstances presented by each case. Because resources are limited, the prosecutor must carefully decide which cases to pursue, and how, to ensure that the greatest and highest effort and resources are directed toward those cases the pose the greatest risk to public safety. Real justice can never be reduced to mere case numbers, statistics and conviction rates, but begins with the realization that with each case we handle, we are dealing with people, their lives, their future and their trauma as well as their sense of dignity, safety, freedom and well-being.
I am proud to do this job every day, and I am even more proud to do it with and for you, the citizens of this great county. Together, we will hold offenders accountable, protect victims of crime and continue to make Chatham County the best it can possibly be.
Shalena Cook Jones, Esq.
Chatham County District Attorney
Eastern Judicial Circuit of Georgia