Sunday, July 23, 2023

Attorney Who Sought Writ Of Mandamus Aimed At District Attorney Gonzalez To Speak To Oconee County Republicans

***District Teen Republican Chair Also To Speak***

Oconee County Attorney Kevin Epps, who has filed a writ of mandamus directed at Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, will be a featured speaker Monday at the July meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Lobby Meeting Room at the main building of the Piedmont Oconee Health Campus, 1305 Jennings Mill Road. A half-hour social precedes the meeting.

Epps will be joined by Ja-Quon Stembridge, Chairman of the 10th District Teen Republicans, as speakers at the meeting.

Epps filed suit on behalf of Jerrod Miller of Athens in March in the Western Judicial Circuit seeking a writ of mandamus, which is an order from the court to an official to fulfill the duties of the office. Oconee and Clarke counties make up the Western Judicial Circuit.

Gonzalez, a Democrat elected in a special election in 2020, has confronted staffing problems and numerous controversies over prosecutions since she took office in 2021.

“Mr. Epps has been in the news most recently for his tenacious efforts in a suit he brought against District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez,” according a news release Kathy Hurley, Oconee County Republic Party Chairman, sent out on July 14.

“He will give us an update on that case and what next steps are on the horizon,” she wrote.

The Oconee County Republican Party did not meet in July, so this is the first meeting since a 14-person delegation of the local party attended the state Republican Party Convention in Macon in June, at which Hurley was re-elected Under 80K Caucus Chair.

June Convention

Hurley posted frequently to the Oconee County Republican Party Facebook page during the early June convention.

From 7/14/2023 News Release

Former President Donald Trump was one of the feature keynote speakers at the convention. Kari Lake, former candidate for Arizona Governor, was another.

Other speakers included presidential candidates former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp bypassed the convention.

Oconee County delegates were: Don McGeary, Shami Jones, Jordan Chinouth, Lyndel Hurley, Steven Strickland, Tommy Malcom, Pam Hendrix, Laura McHugh, Rachel Guthrie, Victoria Cruz, Johnny Prescott, Jeff Hood, Mike Frawley, and Hurley.

Jones is one of the Board of Commissioner appointed members of the Oconee County Board of Elections and Registration. Strickland preceded Hurley as local Republican Party Chair. Hood has covered politics for The Oconee Enterprise.

Hurley, who also is 2nd Vice Chair of the 10th District Republican Party, was re- elected as Caucus Chair of the 127 Georgia counties with populations under 80,000.

Writ Of Mandamus

Epps filed the petition for a writ of mandamus in March on behalf of Miller, who owns a bar in downtown Athens.

Convention Delegates
From News Release

Senior Superior Courts of Georgia Judge David Emerson in May denied a motion by Gonzalez to dismiss the petition for the writ of mandamus.

In a January 2021 memo, Gonzalez made a proclamation that her office would not charge simple possession of marijuana offenses, regardless of amount, and that she would not charge possession of drug-related-object offenses, according to reporting by Editor Michael Prochaska in the Enterprise.

In a front-page story in the May 11 edition of the paper, Prochaska quotes Emerson as ruling that “This court finds if the defendant has adopted such a policy, she has grossly abused her discretion.”

A date has not yet been set for a hearing on the petition for the writ.

Epps is a partner with Epps, Holloway, DeLoach and Hoipkemier located in the Three Sixteen Professional Quarter off Virgil Langford Road.

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