|Catoosa County Government Website|
|Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit|
Herbert E. (Buzz) Franklin
In the State of Georgia, the District Attorney is the chief prosecuting officer within each of the forty-eight judicial circuits. Judicial circuits consist of one to eight counties and are generally named for a geographical feature within the judicial circuit. The Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit consists of Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade and Walker Counties. The District Attorney for the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit is Herbert E. (Buzz) Franklin who took office in January 1997.
Each District Attorney is an elected constitutional officer, who is part of the judicial branch of Georgia state government. The District Attorney represents the State of Georgia in the trial and appeal of criminal cases in the Superior Court for the judicial circuit and delinquency cases in the juvenile courts. The District Attorney is also the legal advisor to the grand jury and performs other duties prescribed by law including the condemnation and forfeiture of the assets of drug offenders.
The office of the District Attorney in Georgia has its roots in the colonial office of Attorney General. It is the only local prosecutor's position in the United States whose origins can be traced directly to that English common law office. When General James Oglethorpe and the Trustees created the colony of Georgia in 1732, there were no lawyers in the state. It was declared in 1739 that no lawyers of any kind were allowed to plead for hire nor any attorneys to take money. Every man was to plead his own cause. In the realm of criminal cases, this caused problems. So the first lawyer in Georgia was a prosecuting attorney, an Attorney General, appointed by King George in 1754. From 1754 until well after the Civil War, the Attorney General prosecuted criminal cases and represented the State of Georgia in litigation. As the population grew, the state was divided into judicial circuits and the duties of the Attorney General were eventually divided between the office of the Attorney General and the office of the Solicitor General which handled criminal prosecutions. As the population continued to grow, more Solicitor Generals were appointed to handle the criminal caseload. In 1968, the title of Solicitor General was changed to District Attorney and the office became a full-time position whose incumbent could not engage in the private practice of law. Today the title Solicitor General has been adopted by prosecutors who handle misdemeanor cases in the various State Courts in individual counties. In sixty-four counties across the state, misdemeanor cases are prosecuted by a Solicitor General in specially created State Courts. In the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit there are two State Courts, one in Chattooga County and one in Walker County. In those counties misdemeanor cases are prosecuted by a Solicitor General.
In 1952, the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit was carved out of the Rome Judicial Circuit and consisted of four counties: Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade and Walker Counties. The circuit has not changed geographically since that time. According to the 1990 census, the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit was the fourteenth largest in the state. Based upon population projections, the circuit may comprise the tenth largest in the state after the completion of the 2000 census.