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Candidate profile: Don Montgomery, solicitor general
Don Montgomery
Don Montgomery

Two decades ago, when he was named Police Officer of the Year for his work in Maryland’s Baltimore County, a reporter asked Don Montgomery what he wanted to be doing 20 years later. Montgomery’s answer was to be a prosecutor.

“I got tired of seeing repeat offenders get off with a slap on the wrist,” he said. “So I decided to go to law school.”

Montgomery is facing Chet Gregg and Andrew Johnson in the Republican primary for the position May 24. If no candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote, the top two will advance to a run-off election July 26. No Democratic candidates filed to run. Incumbent Ray Smith is not seeking re-election and instead is running unopposed for Bryan County State Court judge.

“I’ve been Ray’s fill-in since last year, so it seemed natural to run for the job once I heard he was running for judge,” Montgomery said.

Solicitors general in Georgia prosecute criminal misdemeanor, traffic and ordinance violations in state and magistrate courts.

While working in law enforcement, Montgomery attended night school at the University of Maryland Law School. His first position was as an assistant prosecutor in Chatham County.

“I’ve prosecuted more than 5,000 cases in eight different jurisdictions,” he said. “Being able to present a case to a jury is a big skill for a prosecutor and I’m the only candidate for this race who has done that in Georgia.”

Montgomery said he thinks Bryan County could benefit from a diversion program and has started to implement one in cases he’s handled while filling in for Smith.

“You still have to punish someone who does something wrong, but if you don’t change their behavior it can become like a revolving door with them,” he said. “It doesn’t work for everyone, but when it does work it saves money all the way around.”

Montgomery has also taught evidence certification and testimony procedures to police officers in four departments.

“The two skills a solicitor general needs are jury trial experience and a good relationship with law enforcement,” he said. “I have both.”

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