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Updated: Dec 31, 2020

On Tuesday June 2, 2020, Randy McGinley was sworn in as the Acting District Attorney of the Alcovy Judicial Circuit by Chief Judge John Ott. The Acting District Attorney serves Newton and Walton County with the same duties and responsibilities as the District Attorney.


Acting DA McGinley graduated from Georgia Tech in 2004 and the Mercer School of Law in 2011. Between obtaining his undergraduate degree and law degree, Randy owned his own real estate appraisal company.


Since starting with the Alcovy Circuit District Attorney’s Office, Randy has tried over 50 cases to verdict, including numerous murder cases, numerous crimes against children, gang crimes, and complex white collar crimes. He has taught and trained law enforcement at all agencies within the Circuit, members of the District Attorney’s Office, and prosecutors from all over the State of Georgia. As the former Chief Assistant District Attorney for over 3 years, Randy managed both offices and oversaw over 7000 cases that come into the offices every year. Please feel free to contact Randy at rmcginley@pacga.org, 770-784-2070 in Newton, 770-267-1355 in Walton, or on his cell phone at 404-247-1092.


From Randy: “I am excited and honored to continue to serve both Walton and Newton Counties as I have for over 9 years. I am committed to handling all matters that come to our offices fairly, justly, and without fear, favor, or affection. Our attorneys, investigators, victim advocates, and legal assistants will serve our communities and the citizens of Newton and Walton Counties with honor, dignity, and professionalism while upholding the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Georgia.”


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From District Attorney Randy McGinley: The Chief Medical Examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation put out a very informative video about autopsies and the findings that are made by medical examiners. https://fb.watch/v/2-tavQELu/


These findings are often reported by news organizations but with little or no explanation as to their meaning. Many of you have probably heard in the news that a medical examiner's office has determined a death to be a "homicide." As Dr. Eisenstat explains, this is a MEDICAL determination, not a LEGAL determination. It simply means that the death was caused by another person. But this determination alone does not make the death a criminal act.


News organizations will often treat this finding as "breaking news" even when the case involves a claim of self defense. When someone claims that they acted in self defense, they are admitting to causing the death. Therefore, the medical examiner determining that the death is a "homicide" in that situation should surprise no one. The medical examiner's finding has nothing to do with whether the death was justified (meaning the act would legally be considered self defense). The finding does not mean that the death was or was not a crime, including murder or manslaughter. It is merely a finding that the death was cause by another person.


The determination as to whether the person causing the death will face criminal charges is left to law enforcement and the district attorney's office based on the totality of the facts and circumstances. The autopsy can help in that decision. For example, the autopsy may show that the direction of the wounds that cause the death would not support a claim of self defense.


As Dr. Eisenstat also explains, the finding that a death was an "accident" does not mean that it was not a criminal act. Under Georgia law, if an individual is driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a drug, and this DUI causes the death of another person, that is vehicular homicide. This does not require proof that the death was intended by the person driving under the influence. In these situations, the "manner" of death would be classified as an "accident" by a medical examiner. However, it is crime, and a serious one.


There are countless other scenarios that a medical examiner's determination may not lead to a common sense conclusion as to whether there was a crime involved with the death. That is because those are two separate determinations. The medical examiner is ONLY making a medical determination as to the cause of death, NOT a legal determination.

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District Attorney Randy McGinley is proud to announce the implementation of an updated Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTIP) in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit. The program was started in 2017 and since that time it has helped hundreds of individuals get a second chance at having a clean record. This update seeks to continue this success by both streamlining and expanding the program.


For those that are not familiar, the Alcovy PTIP serves as an alternative to the traditional prosecution of first-time and lower level offenders by diverting them from the criminal justice system while also keeping the community safe and ensuring justice for victims. This program is designed with the following goals:

- Deter future criminal conduct;

- Reduce the number of less serious cases in the courts;

- Provide restitution to the victim;

- Provide an offender with an opportunity to accept responsibility without having a criminal conviction on their record;

- Provide rehabilitative services, life-skills training, and other opportunities to correct the underlying issues that led to criminal activity instead of incarceration; and

- Protect the community by supervising participants.


Georgia law (OCGA § 15-18-80) allows for the District Attorney’s Office to create and administer such a program. Entry into the program shall be at the discretion of the District Attorney based upon written guidelines. However, by law any crime that requires a mandatory minimum sentence of incarceration or imprisonment that cannot be probated is ineligible for participation in the program.


Those that apply for PTIP (or are given an offer to participate from my office) will be screened by the prosecutor assigned to the case in order to determine whether the case qualifies for PTIP. Additionally, the assigned prosecutor will decide which Track the participant fits into. The program will have two Tracks: Track I is the “drug track” and Track II is the non-drug track. Track I will cover not only drug possession crimes, but also crimes which arose from substance abuse issues. Track I is a longer program than Track II and includes intensive drug screening and treatment designed to address the participant’s underlying problems with addiction.


In addition to shifting to the two Track systems, below is a summary of the other major changes to the program:

- The District Attorney’s Office will no longer be supervising participants. That duty will fall to Georgia Probation Management. This puts supervision in the hands of those who do that regularly while freeing time for DA’s Investigators to focus on serious and violent crimes.

- The default will be that any restitution due to victims will be paid in full at the initial supervision meeting. Therefore, victims will more quickly be made whole.

- There will be a monthly supervision fee. However, the initial fee to enter the program has been lowered in light of this.

- More drug possession crimes will qualify for participation. This includes all Schedule III, IV, and V substances as well as marijuana. More serious drugs that are listed in Schedules I and II are not eligible because of the nature of those substances. Exceptions are made for THC oil and cocaine. Additionally, cases involving a small number of marijuana plants that are clearly for personal use only will be eligible for entry into the program. Crimes involving sale, trafficking, and possession with intent to distribute will continue to be ineligible for the Alcovy PTIP.

- Track I can be supervised for between 6-12 months, while Track II, the non-drug track cases, can be supervised for between 3-6 months.

- Payments will now be made to Georgia Probation Management instead of the Clerk’s Office of each county, which expands the methods by which payments can be made (i.e., online).


As both offices continue to diligently and successfully work towards resolving any backlog of ready for trial cases, we recognize that non-violent and less serious crimes committed by those with no criminal history can often be resolved through intervention rather than prosecution. Those that successfully complete the program will have their charges dismissed and the arrest will automatically be restricted (expunged) from their record.


One important thing that has not changed is that victims will always be consulted prior to a participants’ entry into the program.


More information is available in the PTIP Handbook, including details as to what cases may or may not be eligible. A copy of the Handbook is available on our website by visiting https://www.alcovydaoffice.org/pretrial-diversion-program.


Randy McGinley

District Attorney

Alcovy Judicial Circuit

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