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Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Daphne Totten seeks re-election
Daphne Totten2
Daphne Totten

Special to the Herald

Daphne Totten was elected District Attorney in 2020 and has served over 20 years in the Ogeechee Circuit District Attorney’s Office as a career prosecutor. Daphne served as Chief Assistant District Attorney under former DA Richard Mallard and she has prosecuted more than 3,000 felony cases and served as lead counsel in over 30 Homicide cases. She manages a staff of more than 40 people including 15 attorneys and has offices in Springfield and Statesboro that serve Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins, and Screven Counties.

During her first term as District Attorney, she applied for and was awarded more than $2.5 million in ARPA Grant funds to hire additional staff to assist in working through the backlog of cases created by COVID-19. The ARPA Grant funded these positions from 2022 thru 2025 and eliminated the need to request additional funding from the four counties in the Circuit. The additional staff helped our judicial Circuit achieve a ranking of 5th out of 51 Circuits by the Administrative Office of the Courts for opening and closing cases.

One of the accomplishments of her office since 2021 that Totten is most proud of is that since 2021, we have remained fully staffed and closed over 4,000 cases with guilty pleas, jury trials and bench trials. The overall conviction rate circuit wide is 99% when looking at guilty pleas, bench trials, and jury trials.

The Circuit-wide Homicide conviction rate is 92%. Effingham County has a 100% conviction rate in Homicide cases. Since 2021, five defendants in Effingham County have been tried in front of juries for the offense of Murder and all five defendants have been convicted and sentenced to Life in Prison or Life without Parole. The Effingham office is managed by Assistant District Attorney Matt Breedon who has served as the lead attorney in the prosecution of the five murder cases that have been tried in front of trial juries in Effingham.

When Totten took office, she expanded the Effingham County DA’s Office from two Assistant District Attorneys to four Assistant District Attorneys. There is also a fifth Assistant DA who is a juvenile prosecutor and handles the juvenile court caseload for the entire circuit. Totten also expanded the support staff for the Springfield office from one legal secretary to three legal secretaries as well as adding a full-time victim advocate that lives in Effingham and works in the Effingham office daily. The Effingham office is also staffed with a full time Investigator, Thomas Rahn, who resides in Effingham and works exclusively on Effingham County cases. Totten said the caseload in Effingham has almost doubled since 2019 with her office opening 549 cases in 2019 as compared to 845 cases in 2023.