Hayes touts experience

Tue, 07/01/2008 - 4:22pm
By: John Munford

DA Ballard declines to answer questions

Rudjard Hayes contends his 12-plus years as a prosecutor makes him the most qualified candidate to lead the District Attorney’s office for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, which includes Fayette County.

Hayes touted his 12-plus years of experience in a set of detailed answers to questions posed by The Citizen last week to both him and incumbent District Attorney Scott Ballard.

Ballard did not respond to The Citizen’s questions directly but instead said he would post them on his web site, www.GuardingWhatsOurs.org. As of early Tuesday morning, the answers had not been posted on Ballard’s site.

In his replies to The Citizen, Hayes touts his experience over Ballard’s. Ballard served as a defense attorney until he was elected as the circuit’s top prosecutor in 2004 by a slim margin over then-district attorney Bill McBroom.

“I believe my opponent’s criminal defense experience has contaminated his decisions as a prosecutor and led him to make poor decisions as the District Attorney,” Hayes wrote.

Hayes also wrote that the district attorney’s office has a lack of leadership.
“I believe the lack of leadership and experience is the primary cause of eight out of 11 prosecutors leaving the District Attorney’s office (a 73% turnover), taking with them approximately 80+ years of prosecutorial experience,” Hayes wrote. “I will set an example of an aggressive prosecution that will lead experienced prosecutors to stay with our circuit.”

In his answers, Hayes also defends the notion that he moved to Fayette County from Coweta County specifically to run for district attorney. He noted that both his children have attended school in Fayette County since 1999 and he has also attended church and volunteered in Fayette County. He also noted that he was hired by Ballard in January 2005 to work as an assistant district attorney.

“I felt so strongly that something had to be done to serve the needs of crime victims and the communities in the Griffin Judicial Circuit that my family and I made the decision that I would run for District Attorney,” Hayes wrote.

Hayes specifically is questioning Ballard’s appearance as a character witness in a probation revocation hearing in south Georgia for a Fayette man who was on probation for child molestation and previously tussled with Fayetteville police during an arrest.

“It is inexcusable for an elected District Attorney to testify on behalf of a convicted child molester and seek leniency,” Hayes wrote. “Scott Ballard has claimed that he was subpoenaed, and that he didn't seek leniency, but he's just trying to hide the fact that he attempted to keep a convicted child molester from having his probation revoked and sent back to jail.”

The full answers from Hayes are available online at www.TheCitizen.com.

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