Guest article by Linda Harris
Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes was the featured guest speaker at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Senior Citizen Council of Cobb County (SCC).The SCC is a non-profit group that engages Cobb seniors in numerous programs and projects and advocates for better public policy for older citizens. DA Holmes, who previously was Cobb’s Chief Magistrate Judge, made history in July, 2019 when she became both the first female and the first African-American to serve as the District Attorney for Cobb County.
DA Holmes said her goal is “not just conviction but also justice. We prosecute cases but we also want to keep the community whole.” She said that one of her main concerns is to address the number of scams that target the elderly population. She noted that Cobb has an Elder Abuse Task Force which is multidisciplinary and that works not only to find crimes, but also to provide services when needed. Ms. Holmes told the group that any elder abuse complaints can be reported anonymously.
District Attorney Holmes stressed that “if we are not treating the whole person, we’re not going to have a whole county.” She says her office is involved in a “360 degree process” which sees their purpose as beyond prosecution and conviction of criminal activity.
To this end, she spoke of her pride in the Accountability Courts in Cobb which provide effective alternatives to sentencing for nonviolent offenders. She gave examples of countywide projects such as Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn’s meetings with groups of pastors to discuss scams and other issues and an upcoming job fair that will help certain classes of past offenders find employment. She says all these efforts are to serve the goal that “we do not want to be in a narrow box or perspective of what we do.”
In the question and answer period, several in the audience inquired about what the county was doing to improve transportation options for seniors. DA Holmes said this was not an area that would be in the purview of the attorney’s office.
Cobb Commissioner Lisa Cupid and Mr. William Tanks, Cobb Public Service Agency director, who were both in attendance spoke up that some of these concerns could be addressed by contacting Cobb Senior Services which offers many community resources and links to assistance.
Ms. Holmes pointed out that this is what she is talking about, that “it is teamwork and partnership that gets everything done.”