Local attorney Martha Kirkland Hall seeks to make changes should she be elected as the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney, while incumbent Richard Mallard is banking on his experience and existing relationship with law enforcement as he vies to keep the seat.
Mallard and Hall will face off Tuesday in the primary election.
Hall, who once worked under former District Attorney Joe Martin, said she enjoyed the six years she spent working in the district attorney’s office.
“… I want to get back to it,” she said. “I have always loved it, and in my observations … I think I can make some improvements in the way things are running.”
She said her decision to run against Mallard was spurred by encouragement from local law enforcement officers, local attorneys and others in the community.
Mallard said he has developed a strong working relationship with local attorneys and law enforcement, and hopes to keep that going.
“I want to continue serving the people of the circuit,” he said. “We have a very good office, we work well with law enforcement, and I want to continue. I am a career prosecutor, and I like what I do.”
First elected in 2002, Mallard has been a prosecutor for 24 years. For 11 of those, he served as chief assistant district attorney of the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit before his election as district attorney 10 years ago.
He also worked as an assistant solicitor in Cobb County and as an assistant district attorney of the Eastern Judicial Circuit in Chatham County.
Hall said she feels new leadership would be beneficial to the Ogeechee circuit.
“My reason for making the decision to run is, first and foremost, to provide strong and effective leadership,” she said. “The district attorney’s office is the senior law enforcement position in the judicial circuit and, as such, is responsible for having an effective and efficient collaboration among the law enforcement entities, the court system, and the attorneys who practice in the local criminal justice system.”
Mallard said his experience is valuable to the position.
“I have a strong commitment to fair, impartial and effective enforcement of the laws of the State of Georgia,” he said. “Ensuring the safety of our citizens in Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins and Screven counties is a job that my staff and I take very seriously.”
With the pressures of today’s economy along with the growth in the circuit, experience now matters more than ever, he said.
“With a long-term commitment to public service and to the area where I grew up, please be assured my staff and I are experienced and committed to protecting the individual victims of crime and the property rights of our citizens,” Mallard said.
Hall said she also has experience to bring to the.
“I firmly believe there is a noticeable lack of direction and organization in the current district attorney’s office, which results in random outcomes to many cases brought before the courts,” she said. “This is unacceptable, and real change is long overdue. I believe my 18 years of experience in private practice in this district, including six years in the district attorney’s office, and my commitment to the good people of our district and our criminal justice system require that I step forward at this time.”
Mallard graduated from Statesboro High School in 1973 and Georgia Southern College in 1978. A member and past president of the Downtown Statesboro Rotary Club, he also served on the board of directors of the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce and is an alumnus of both Leadership Bulloch and Leadership Southeast Georgia.
He is a member of the Georgia District Attorneys Association and the National District Attorneys Association. For the past 20 years, he has served as a trial advocacy instructor for the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.
Mallard and his wife, Janet, have been married for 26 years and have three children -- Christie, Rob and Anna -- and are active members of First Baptist Church of Statesboro.
Hall and her husband and law partner, Michael Hall, have a large family and enjoy blending family, community and church into every aspect of their lives.
She graduated from Newington Central High in Memphis, Tenn., in 1987. Later, she attended the University of Memphis to study political science before later transferring to Georgia Southern University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in criminal justice in 1991.
Hall earned her law degree from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis in 1994.
She spent almost six years working as assistant DA in the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit prosecuting felonies in juvenile and superior courts. From 2001-2003, she sat on the bench as judge for the Newington and Oliver Municipal Courts and currently serves as solicitor general of Screven County in addition to her private practice.
Hall is active in her local Catholic church and helps at the local soup kitchen, does pro bono work for legal aid and the women’s shelter, supports the mobile medical clinic and church-based food pantry.
The Halls serve as a home host for the German Exchange Program. Hall also has been a member of the community board for Screven County Department of Family and Children Services.
Holli Deal Bragg maybe reached at (912) 489-9414.