DA requests to hire additional prosecutor in light of “unprecedented homicide rate” | News
On December 21, the Montgomery County Commission heard from District Attorney Daryl Bailey who spoke about the county’s âunprecedented homicide rateâ.
Bailey informed the commission that his office currently has 236 homicide cases awaiting trial and that jury trials being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused this large number of pending cases. He says county judges have promised homicide cases will be given priority when trials resume.
The district attorney says the current number of cases means that 47 homicide cases have been attributed to each of his five prosecutors, although statistics indicate that no prosecutor should deal with more than 15 cases at a time. That being said, and noting that there have been 445 people shot dead in the county this year, Bailey asked the commission to approve the hiring of an additional prosecutor for his office.
Commissioner Dan Harris told Bailey he supports the district attorney’s office, but noted that the county is required to pay 50% of an attorney’s salary even though they are employees of the State. He suggested that the state legislature should increase the salaries of prosecutors rather than requiring counties to pay half of their salaries, to which Bailey replied, âWe are the only state agency that I know she has to raise our own funds â.
Bailey also told the commission that he had been in contact with his colleagues in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Mobile and that they were “going through the same thing”. He also said that “our entire prison population is made up of homicide cases” and that “90% of homicide cases go to trial”.
Commissioner Isaiah Sankey has suggested the state’s share of US bailout funds could be a source of funding to hire more prosecutors and he and Harris said they and Bailey should lobby lawmakers to that he use the funds for that purpose rather than spending them to build new prisons.
In the end, the four Commissioners agreed to put the item on the agenda for their next meeting and discuss options among themselves and with Chairman Elton Dean who was absent from the meeting.
Elsewhere during the meeting, the commission heard from the Emergency Management Agency which said 41% of the county’s citizens are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the commissioners agreed to recognize Jan. 9, 2022 as âRev. Gary Porter Burton Day âin honor of his 50 years of ministry in Pintlala.
The next meeting of the Montgomery County Commission will be held on Tuesday, January 4 at 9:00 a.m. in Annex 3 of the Montgomery County Courthouse.