C. R. Chisholm, Jr., Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General
2007 – present
C. R. Chisholm is Athens-Clarke County’s Solicitor General and is up for re-election in 2022. The solicitor general is a responsible for prosecuting misdemeanors.
Record Restriction – Chisholm holds regular record restriction events to help those who have been convicted of misdemeanors. Through record restriction, a process also known as expungement, employers and others can be prevented from seeing someone’s criminal records.
Pre-Arrest Diversion — Chisholm has set up a pre-arrest diversion program in Athens primarily for first-time offenders who commit low-level misdemeanors like cannabis possession, shoplifting, trespassing or underage alcohol possession. It allows those who qualify to avoid arrest entirely by entering the pre-arrest diversion program and paying a small fine or doing community service instead. Participants must also watch a three-hour “moral reconation” video.
Opposition to Local-Level Cannabis Decriminalization – There is broad consensus on the ACC Commission that decriminalizing cannabis, as many Georgia cities have already done, would be an important step for criminal justice reform in Athens. This could be done by passing an ordinance, parallel to state law, that would allow police to charge a small fine for those caught with cannabis, instead of being forced to charge them under the harsher state law.
Yet, Chisholm has told the mayor and commission that he would ignore their efforts to decriminalize cannabis with a parallel ordinance, even if they pass one. He feels it would be a violation of his oath of office and he would continue charging those caught with cannabis under state law instead. Chisholm feels that his pre-arrest diversion program accomplishes much of the same thing while keeping within his oath. However, pre-arrest diversion is typically only offered to first (or possibly second) time offenders and involves hours of “moral reconation.”
Chisholm has been ACC Solicitor General since 2007.