Tracy Graham-Lawson, District Attorney for the Clayton Judicial Circuit, was announced “District Attorney of the Year for 2015” on July 19 during the 2015 Summer Conference sponsored by the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia (PAC).
PAC presented its annual Summer Conference from July 19-22, 2015 in Jekyll Island, Georgia at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Each year during the conference, the District Attorneys Association of Georgia (DAAG) presents this award to recognize outstanding leadership and dedication in the field of prosecution.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” said Graham-Lawson. “The glory goes to God first and then to the wonderful people in my office who work very hard and are dedicated to our mission.”
Lawson became the District Attorney of Clayton Judicial Circuit in 2008 and was elected to serve a second term in 2012. Prior to becoming District Attorney, Lawson served Clayton County as a juvenile court judge for 13 years.
Since taking office, Graham-Lawson and her staff have eliminated the county’s backlog of felony cases. She and her staff have reduced the backlog by 34 percent. This reduction of the backlog has decreased the inmate population resulting in an $18 million savings for Clayton County taxpayers. Additionally, she has spearheaded asset forfeiture seizures bringing in $6 million in assets to benefit law enforcement.
“Georgia’s prosecutors are top notch, and Tracy certainly stands out as the best of the best,” said PAC Executive Director Chuck Spahos. “She is passionate about the work she is doing for Clayton County, and that passion comes forth in everything she does.”
As a former juvenile court judge, one of Graham-Lawson’s passions is helping deserving first offenders with a second chance. Upon taking office, Graham-Lawson established a Pretrial Intervention and Diversion program. To date 2,450 people have completed the program, paying more than $235,000 to their victims and completing more than 26,000 hours of community service. Moreover, her office has produced three short films designed to educate and prevent the crimes of armed robbery, bullying and domestic violence by youth.
“As a public servant, Ms. Graham-Lawson works tirelessly to fight crime and protect her community, and she’s made headlines for doing so,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Erman Tanjuatco, who nominated Graham-Lawson for the Award.
Graham-Lawson’s office has had many successful convictions involving crimes against police officers. In 2012, her office led the successful prosecution of the murder of Clayton County Deputy Richard Daly. Likewise, in 2014 she personally tried and convicted the surviving wife of the slain murderer who shot and killed Officer Sean Callahan as a party to the crime of felony murder. Finally, in 2014, she successfully convicted the defendant who seriously injured Clayton County Officer Michael Hooks in a hit-and-run.
Graham-Lawson’s efforts have been recognized numerous times. Her office received an award from the DEA in 2010 for Operation Chokehold, where 45 defendants of the La Familia Michoacán Cartel were indicted. Forty-six pounds of Methamphetamine plus a lab, 43 kilo grams of cocaine, 4,120 pounds of marijuana, 20 firearms, and $2,349,000 of U.S. currency were seized.
Additionally, the NAACP has recognized Graham-Lawson for her community leadership and service.
“I am proud to be a member of the prosecution family who pursue the truth and seek justice for our victims and citizens,” said Graham-Lawson.
Graham-Lawson serves on the Statewide Bar Judicial Evaluation Committee and is active at her church, First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, where she has been a teacher’s aide in a 4-year-old Sunday school class and a member of FAITH.