July 31, 2007
Peter J. Skandalakis, District Attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit, has been selected as the 2007 District Attorney of the Year by the District Attorneys' Association of Georgia. The announcement was made on Sunday, July 22, 2007 at the 47th Annual Summer Conference held at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Jekyll Island, Georgia, and sponsored by the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council.
During the opening session of the conference, four outstanding members of the prosecutorial community were recognized as District Attorney, Solicitor-General, Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Solicitor-General of the year. This year, the District Attorneys' Association recognized Skandalakis as District Attorney of the Year. John B. Johnson, III, Chief Assistant District Attorney for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, was named the 2007 Assistant District Attorney of the Year. The Georgia Association of Solicitors-General recognized Otis Scarbary of Bibb County as Solicitor-General of the Year. Jimmy Newkirk of Cobb County was honored as the Assistant Solicitor-General of the Year.
Skandalakis was nominated by the staff of the Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office. The award was presented by Fred Bright, outgoing President of the District Attorneys' Association.
"This year's award is being given to a very worthy candidate who has made significant contributions to the prosecution profession in the State of Georgia for over 23 years," said Bright. "The recipient is a career prosecutor who started his career right out of law school in 1984. He was first employed as an assistant district attorney, then named chief assistant district attorney in 1987, and has been the District Attorney of his five county circuit since 1992." The Coweta Judicial Circuit includes Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Meriwether and Troup counties.
In his nomination letter, Skandalakis' staff wrote that, "His professional and personal leadership in the prosecution community places him among the state's foremost public servants."
Skandalakis served as an elected member of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council from 2001 to 2006, and he served two terms as the Council's Chairman from July 2004 to June 2006. This year, Skandalakis has again been selected to serve on the Council. He also served as president of the District Attorneys' Association in 1998.
In addition to being a board member and chairman of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council, Skandalakis has served as chairman of its Basic Litigation Training Course since 2001. This "boot camp" is offered annually to prosecutors who are new to Georgia courtrooms. "His enduring influence of fairness, integrity and honor on these young people has lifelong impact; both personally and professionally," said his staff. In recognition of his exceptional contributions to the Basic Litigation Course, Skandalakis was the 2006 recipient of the J. Roger ThompsonAward, which is given to one outstanding faculty member per year.
"Skandalakis serves as a role model and sets standards of professionalism to which others can aspire," said his staff. "Who hasn't heard him say, in response to a question about a course of action to take, "We're going to do what's right"? said his staff.
Bright continued the award presentation. "Our recipient has also done a good bit of State Capitol hall walking the past few sessions attending committee meetings, speaking up for the interests of the prosecution profession and the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council. In turn, he is recognized as an experienced, credible and reputable spokesman for the District Attorneys of Georgia, and is respected by legislators and staff who value his insights," said Bright.
Bright read more comments from Skandalakis' nomination letter. This year's recipient "has displayed uncommon commitment, exemplary service and dedication to protecting crime victims' rights to receive justice and restitution," said his staff. "His efforts have earned him the respect and admiration of countless victims whose abuse has been vindicated in the five superior courts in his circuit. He is widely known as a champion of victims' rights which is evidenced by having the third largest prosecution-based victim assistance program in the State of Georgia, and by serving as Chairman of the Board of a domestic violence shelter in his Circuit. In 2002, he received the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council's Eagle Award, given to individuals throughout the State of Georgia who have made outstanding and meaningful contributions in the field of victim services," said his staff.
Skandalakis is also a warrior in the courtroom and has garnered national attention. He was recently featured on CBS's 48 Hours television show, which highlighted two "cold cases" in his circuit. After having been closed for 17 years, his office solved the murder cases and Skandalakis prosecuted the defendants.
"But, far too often displaying a misplaced modesty, Pete very rarely allows himself to be personally recognized for his contributions to public safety and the improvement of the prosecution profession," said his staff. "His preference is to direct credit to his colleagues and staff members."
"However, his leadership, quiet dignity, exemplary deportment, unrivaled integrity, valuable insight and commitment to ethical conduct should be an inspiration to us all, and should be recognized and celebrated statewide," said his staff.
"To quote the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle," said Bright, "Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them." "Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the dignified man who very much deserves the honor of the 2007 District Attorney of the Year, Mr. Pete Skandalakis, District Attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit," concluded Bright.