On March 8, 2012 Larry Chisolm launched his campaign to maintain his seat as the District Attorney of the Eastern Judicial Circuit, which is composed of Chatham County. He, along with his election committee, family and other supporters made the announcement outside of the Chatham County Courthouse, that he will be seeking another term. Sworn into office in January 2009, Chisolm replaced Spencer Lawton, who served as the District Attorney for 28 years. He made history in Chatham County as the first African-American to serve as district attorney and as the first African-American to be elected county-wide without having first been appointed to office. Mr. Chisolm leads a team of 36 attorneys in prosecuting felony and misdemeanor offenses in Superior Court, State Court and Juvenile Court, on behalf of the citizens of the Chatham County. He supervises a staff of about 130 employees and manages a combined budget of well over 8 million dollars.
Among his many accomplishments while holding office, he particularly notes the following: The creation of the first Interactive Website for the DA’s Office (District Attorney.Chatham County.org), which gives citizens and stakeholders the ability to communicate with his offices outside of work hours and to obtain information 24 hours a day through the web, among many others. He made the office more transparent and accessible to the public by the use of printed Annual Reports and the establishment of a Public Information Officer position in the office. Chisolm has almost doubled the efficiency of the Early Intervention Program (Now approximately 42% of felony cases are disposed of prior to assign- ment in Superior Court, saving the County over 2 million dollars annually in jail costs). In addition to these accomplishments he has broadened the office to include a Community Oriented Prosecution model:
Chisolm’s Office has been highly effective in the prosecution of the more serious cases in Chatham County. Last year alone, the office was able to get life sentences or Life without Parole sentences in most of the higher profile murder cases reported in the media. The office was also able to obtain convictions and life sentences in cases involving the murder of a SCAD student and the murder of an elderly gentleman, who was killed outside of a convenience store on Waters Avenue on Savannah’s Eastside.
Chisolm states: “DA’s Offices in larger cities around the country have always experienced high turnover.
They are viewed as great places to begin a career and to get valuable experience and to move on to higher paying jobs– particularly for trial lawyers.
In some larger cities, lawyers have to sign an agreement before they are hired to remain in the office for a certain number of years, in response to high turnover in those offices.
In Savannah, more specifically, in the 12 years prior to my coming into office, lawyers left the office at a rate of about 3.5 per year.”
Mr. Chisolm was born and raised in Savannah, where he attended local public schools.
He graduated from Windsor Forest High School and received his bachelor’s and law degrees from Duke University.
He is running for office as a Democrat.