D.A. candidates want to restore confidence - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

D.A. candidates want to restore confidence

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October 12, 2004

Clinch County - Two South Georgia lawyers want to restore faith in the Alapaha Judicial Circuit.

The man previously in charge of prosecuting criminals in that circuit is now awaiting sentencing for a felony charge. Former D.A. Bob Ellis lost in the primary after being indicted for having sex with a drug defendant. He since pled guilty to making a false statement to F.B.I agents.

It's been a busy three months for Interim Alapaha Circuit D.A. Jody Steedley. "We're handling a lot of cases now and we feel like everything's going well," said Steedley.

He's hoping the job Governor Perdue appointed him to in July will become permanent on election day. "It gave me a chance to get in the office, get things in place so we can work on what we need to in the next four years," said Steedley.

And Steedley says his work during the past three months is proof of why he's the best candidate for the job. "It wasn't exactly an easy situation to come into but because of my dedicated staff and my dedication, we've done a good job."

But to fulfill the plans this 10 year Homerville attorney started, he'll have to beat fellow Homerville attorney, Cathy Helms. Her primary goal is to restore integrity and stability to the DA's office. "Since July 1, three of the most experienced prosecutors in that office have left, there's a big mess and we need someone with experience who is able to clean it up," said Helms.

Helms feels her advantage in this race is simply experience. She's been prosecuting criminals for 18 years. "I worked on a death penalty case and tried a lot of child molestation cases and won them all," said Helms.

And for the past 13 years, she's managed her own firm with husband Jeff. "I'm not beholden to anyone but the voters and if elected, I will answer only to them," said Helms.

One thing these candidates admit they have in common are plans to turn over a new leaf in the Alapaha Judicial Circuit and bring back the confidence voters should have in a District Attorney.

posted at 4:15 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com