Ramping up the final three weeks of her campaign, Ogeechee Judicial Circuit district attorney challenger Martha Kirkland Hall met with supporters at a reception Tuesday in Rincon.
Hall, who has served as both a prosecutor and defense attorney in her 18-year legal career, will face incumbent DA Richard Mallard in the July 31 Republican primary. The winner will run unopposed in the November election.
Hall reiterated a promise she made during the recent Effingham County candidate forum, to establish in the district attorney’s office a special unit devoted strictly to prosecuting crimes against children. She stated she knows of “at least two acquittals in the circuit — one in Screven County and one in Effingham County — of folks charged with multiple counts of child molestation.”
Hall pointed to her experience prosecuting child crime cases. She said that, when she was an assistant district attorney in the Ogeechee Circuit from 1994-2000, she and fellow assistant DA Tony May tried the majority of the cases that involved a sexual offense or a child victim.
“(Child crime) cases are super difficult, which is why you need that specialized training that I don’t think the (district attorney’s) staff is getting. Evidence of that are those two acquittals,” Hall said.
Another pledge Hall makes is that, as district attorney, she — rather than an assistant DA — will be the lead prosecutor in any death-penalty case in the circuit.
“I think, if you’re going to seek the ultimate punishment, and it is one of the most egregious crimes, that the DA and all of their experience and training in trials, needs to be present to devote that experience and that training to these most-significant cases,” Hall said.
After six years as an assistant district attorney in the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, which serves Effingham, Bulloch, Jenkins and Screven counties, Hall went into private practice in 2000. She is a partner in the firm Hall and Kirkland, with offices in Springfield and Statesboro.
In addition to her private practice, she has been solicitor general of Screven County since 2004 and a certified mediator for general, domestic and juvenile cases since 2005. From 2001-03, she sat on the bench as judge for the Newington and Oliver municipal courts.