They understand what it’s like to fear the criminal justice system
They administer justice a little differently
- Its municipal court has a pretrial diversion program called “Second Chance South Fulton,” which looks at people’s records to see if they can be diverted from the criminal justice system and instead given resources, such as counseling, to keep them out of further trouble. Sellers, who was a trial attorney for over a decade, said she’s never seen a pretrial diversion program at the municipal court level as strong as the one in South Fulton.
- Under state law, defendants don’t need to have an attorney present when they first go before a judge. In South Fulton, however, every defendant is given a public defender for their first appearance. “The law doesn’t require that you get a lawyer for that. I think that’s kind of silly,” Sellers said. “I think we can do it better, so we do.”
- The city places extra emphasis on educating citizens about the law. “I think that we should be educating people that if you are driving with a suspended tag, your license will be suspended for six months if you are found guilty,” Sellers said. “People don’t know that, but it’s a reality that happens every day. I’m very big on making sure that people really understand the law, understand the consequences of bad decisions.” She added, “I think it’s part of the woman thing that we do, where we nurture people … to seek a life-changing, life-altering result.”
By Doug Criss, CNN