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Judicial

Solicitor

Patrick M. Shepherd

Patrick M. Shepherd has served as Solicitor General in Spalding County since January 1, 2019.

Contact Information

Physical Address
132 East Solomon Street 2nd Floor Griffin, Georgia 30223

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 648 Griffin, Georgia 30224

Phone
(770) 467-4350

Fax
(770) 467-4355

Office Hours
Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

     

The Spalding County Solicitor General’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of misdemeanors in the State Court of Spalding County. A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by up to twelve months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00 ($5,000.00 for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature). Common misdemeanors include crimes against persons, crimes against property and traffic offenses. Crimes against person include battery, domestic violence and stalking. Crimes against property include criminal trespass, shoplifting and theft by taking. Traffic offenses include DUI, reckless driving and speeding.

Our office serves the citizens of Spalding County by prosecuting criminal behavior, protecting the rights of crime victims and aiding law enforcement. We are committed to making our community a safer place to live, work and raise our families.

Traffic Ticket Payment

About

About Our Office:

The Spalding County Solicitor General’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of misdemeanors in the State Court of Spalding County. A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by up to twelve months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00 ($5,000.00 for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature). Common misdemeanors include crimes against persons, crimes against property and traffic offenses. Crimes against person include battery, domestic violence and stalking. Crimes against property include criminal trespass, shoplifting and theft by taking. Traffic offenses include DUI, reckless driving and speeding.

Cases falling under the jurisdiction of the Spalding County Solicitor General come to the office from the Spalding County Sherriff’s Department, Griffin Police Department and Georgia State Patrol. Cases come to the Solicitor General’s Office by way of warrants issued by the Spalding County Magistrate Court, citations issued by law enforcement officers and cases transferred by the District Attorney and Griffin Municipal Court.

The Spalding County Solicitor General’s Office is responsible for reviewing and investigating cases that are made by law enforcement, filing formal criminal charges, and representing the State of Georgia in criminal cases in the State Court of Spalding County from arraignment to trial.    

About Patrick Shepherd:

Patrick M. Shepherd was born and raised in Spalding County, Georgia. Patrick graduated from Griffin High School in 2001 and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in 2005. Patrick graduated from the Mercer University School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 2009.

Patrick and his father, Timothy N. Shepherd, were partners in the law firm Shepherd Law Offices, LLC from 2010 until 2018. Patrick also served as Chief Assistant Solicitor under Griffin E. Howell, III from 2016 until 2018. Following Griffin E. Howell, III’s retirement, Patrick was elected Solicitor General in 2018 and took office as Solicitor General on January 1, 2019.

Patrick is married to Robin Shepherd and they have a daughter, Elizabeth Bell Shepherd. Patrick is active in several civic organizations including the Griffin Exchange Club and the Griffin-Spalding Historical Society. Patrick and his family attend First Baptist Church of Griffin.

Pre-Trial Diversion

The Pre-Trial Diversion Program (PTD) was created pursuant to O.C.G.A. §15-18-80 as an alternative to the prosecution of offenders in the criminal justice system. The PTD shall be administered by the Solicitor General of Spalding County and shall be supervised by JAG Probation. 

The PTD is designed for the benefit of the individual program participant as well as the overall criminal justice system for the State Court of Spalding County. The PTD allows participants avoid a conviction on their criminal record while also receiving rehabilitative services to address the issues which led to criminal behavior. The PTD also provides an early resolution to criminal cases which better serves the interests of victims and reduces the burden on the court system.

Participation in the program is voluntary and applicants should seek the advice of legal counsel prior to application to the PTD. Participation in the PTD will occur prior to the adjudication of the charged offense. Satisfactory completion of the PTD will result in the dismissal or nolle prosequi of the charged offense.

Applicants accepted into the PTD will participate in an individualized program for a period of between one (1) and twelve (12) months, per charge, in lieu of traditional prosecution. Depending on the nature of the charged offense, individualized programs may require participants to perform community service, undergo substance abuse assessments and complete recommended substance abuse treatment, complete family violence and/or anger management counseling, complete a defensive driving course and obtain a Georgia driver’s license.

As set forth in O.C.G.A. §15-18-80(f), participants shall be assessed an administrative fee not to exceed $1,000.00. Participants shall also be assessed a monthly supervision fee. Participants may also be required to pay restitution to the victim of the charged offense. All administrative fees, supervision fees and restitution shall be paid to JAG Probation. All administrative fees collected from participants shall be remitted to the general fund of Spalding County.

Applicants may be required to execute forms waiving their right to certain Constitutional rights, including the right to a speedy trial. Applicants may also be required to execute releases for confidential records such as juvenile court records and medical records as needed to determine the applicant’s eligibility for the PTD. 

Participants in the PTD who fail to comply with all terms and provisions of their individualized program shall, upon motion by the Solicitor General or JAG Probation, be terminated from the PTD. Participants terminated from the PTD shall have their cases placed on the next trial calendar for adjudication by bench trial or jury trial.

Eligibility Criteria

Acceptance into the PTD will generally be based upon an assessment of the following eligibility criteria set forth in O.C.G.A. §15-18-80(d):

  1. The nature of the crime or offense;
  2. The prior arrest and/or conviction record of the applicant;
  3. The input of the victim, if any. 

In addition to the criteria set forth hereinabove, the following criteria may also be assessed in determining acceptance into the PTD:

  1. The particular facts and circumstances of the charged crime or offense;
  2. The applicant’s employment and/or school enrollment status;
  3. The applicant’s place of residence and stability of residence; and
  4. The applicant’s prior involvement in other Pre-Trial Diversion Programs.

The following criteria may disqualify an applicant from acceptance into the PTD:

  1. Extensive juvenile records;
  2. Extensive criminal records;
  3. Prior felony convictions;
  4. Prior offenses involving the use of firearms or other weapons;
  5. Prior offenses involving domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and animal cruelty;
  6. Prior arrests or convictions for the charged offense; and
  7. Failure to appear for court proceedings while on bond.  

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. §15-18-80(e), applicants charged with offenses for which the law provides a mandatory minimum sentence of incarceration or imprisonment that cannot be suspended, probated or deferred are not eligible for acceptance into the PTD.

While the criteria set forth hereinabove shall be used in determining the eligibility of each applicant, acceptance into the PTD shall be at the sole discretion of the Spalding County Solicitor General or Assistant Solicitor.

Accountability Court

Accountability Courts provide alternative ways for criminal offenders to resolve their cases. Retired State Court Judge Sidney R. Esary began the Spalding County Veterans and Mental Health Treatment Court in 2017. This program has helped numerous veterans and people with mental illnesses receive treatment and resolve their criminal cases without a conviction on their criminal record. The Spalding County Solicitor General’s Office is committed to the continued growth and success of our Veterans and Mental Health Treatment Court.

The Veterans and Mental Health Treatment Court requires participants to attend individual and group counseling, participate in self-help projects, submit to random drug and alcohol screens and complete other requirements based on the individual’s specific needs. 

Applicants to the Veterans and Mental Health Treatment Court must:

  • Have pending misdemeanor charges in Spalding County;
  • Have received an honorable or less than honorable military discharge and/or have a diagnosed mental illness;
  • Have a stable residence in Spalding County; and
  • Have sufficient emotional stability and mental and intellectual capacity to complete program requirements.

The minimum criteria set forth above do not guarantee acceptance into the Veterans and Mental Health Treatment Court and applications are reviewed by the Veterans and Mental Health Treatment Court team on a case by case basis. Factors such as past criminal behavior, the nature of the current offense and the consent of the crime victim, if any, are also taken into consideration in determining acceptance.   

If you believe that you are a good candidate for the Veterans and Mental Health Treatment Court, please contact: 

Leslie Heffron
Court Coordinator
(770) 467-8824
lheffron@spaldingcounty.com

Witnesses

If you receive a subpoena to appear in court, you are required by law to attend. 

The cooperation and testimony of witnesses is often the difference between a guilty and a not guilty verdict. While your testimony is extremely important to the prosecution of a case, we understand that you have obligations to your work, family or school that are just as important to you. Therefore, our goal is to be as respectful of your time as possible. We ask that you contact our office after receiving a subpoena so that you may be placed on call. You may be able to avoid waiting in the courtroom for your case to be called. 

If there are special reasons why you are unable to appear in court on the date you have been subpoenaed, please contact our office. We will do our best to accommodate your specific circumstances.

Lastly, we understand that testifying in court can be a difficult experience for many people. To make your experience easier, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Be Prepared: Review the case in your mind a couple days before trial to refresh your memory.
  • Always Tell the Truth: Even the smallest fabrication can completely discredit your testimony and significantly weaken the entire case. If you can’t remember a detail, simply say you can’t remember.
  • Look Your Best: A witness’ appearance is an important factor when judges and juries are determining credibility. Dress neat and conservatively when you come to court. Shorts, tank tops and hats are not allowed in the courtroom.
  • Be Prepared to Wait: While we try to be as respectful of your time as possible, the court process can be unpredictable and you may have to wait for your turn to testify. Bring something to read to help you pass the time.
  • Listen Carefully: Listen carefully to the question you are asked, and then answer only what is asked. If you do not know the answer, do not guess. 
  • Avoid Jurors: Witnesses and jurors are not allowed to communicate with each other during trial except for when the witness is testifying. Do not approach a juror, even if it is a matter wholly unrelated to the case on trial.

Victim Services

About Our Victim Witness Assistance Program

Too often, the criminal justice system overlooks the needs and rights of crime victims. The Spalding County Solicitor General’s Office is committed to ensuring that this doesn’t happen to victims of misdemeanor crimes in Spalding County. We believe that everyone has the right to be protected by the law and to feel safe. We aggressively prosecute criminals accused of domestic violence, theft and other cases that impact the lives of victims.

In addition to prosecuting criminal cases, the Spalding County Solicitor General’s Office also operates a state certified Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP). Our VWAP is committed to:

  • Providing the highest quality services to crime victims.
  • Ensuring that victims are informed of their rights under the Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights.
  • Assisting victims to recover restitution and compensation for their injuries and expenses caused because of a crime.
  • Connecting victims with resources designed to help them recover and return to their normal lives.

In most cases, successful prosecution requires the full cooperation of the victim. Our Victim Advocate sends packets to all the victims of crimes we prosecute. These packets include forms that greatly assist our office in ensuring the victim’s rights are protected and in preparing the case for prosecution. If you are the victim of a crime, we ask that you complete and return the packets to our office as soon as possible. We also ask that you keep our office informed of any changes in your address or telephone number so that we can contact you about your case.

Our Victim Advocate may be contacted as follows:

Kera Parr
P.O. Box 843
Griffin Georgia 30224
(770) 467-4358
kparr@spaldingcounty.com

Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights

In 1995, the Georgia General Assembly enacted the Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights (O.C.G.A. §17-17-1) which gives victims of crimes a broad range of rights. These rights include:

  • The right to reasonable, accurate and timely notice of any scheduled court proceedings or any changes to such proceedings;
  • The right to reasonable, accurate and timely notice of the arrest, release or escape of the accused;
  • The right not to be excluded from any scheduled court proceedings, except as provided by law;
  • The right to be heard at any court proceeding involving the release, plea or sentencing of the accused;
  • The right to file a written objection in any parole proceedings involving the accused;
  • The right to confer with the prosecuting attorney in any criminal prosecution related to the victim;
  • The right to restitution as provided by law;
  • The right to proceedings free from any unreasonable delay; and
  • The right to be treated fairly and with dignity by all criminal justice agencies involved in the case.

FAQs

  1. Where are you located? Our office is located on the Second Floor of the Spalding County Courthouse at 132 East Solomon Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223.
  2. Can I have my case continued? Generally, each Defendant is granted one continuance in their case. Continuances may be requested in the Spalding County Clerk of Court. Additional continuances are only granted by the State Court Judge and must be requested in person by the Defendant during a regularly scheduled court date.  
  3. What happens if I miss my court date? It is extremely important that you appear for your assigned court date. If you fail to appear in court, a bench warrant or failure to appear will be issued against you. You may be arrested, forfeit your bond and/or have your driver’s license suspended.
  4. What do I do if I have a bench warrant? Only the State Court Judge may lift bench warrants. If a bench warrant is issued against you, you must appear in court at a regularly scheduled court date to address your bench warrant. 
  5. What do I do if I have a failure to appear? If a failure to appear has been issued against you, you must contact to Clerk of Court to determine if the failure to appear may be lifted by paying the traffic citation or if a court appearance is required. You may also appear in court at a regularly scheduled court date to address your failure to appear. 
  6. How do I obtain the public defender? The public defender for the Spalding County State Court is Sullivan and Ogletree, PC. Their office is located at 743 South Hill Street, Griffin, Georgia 30224. Their telephone number is (770) 227-8806.
  7. Do I need an attorney? In any legal proceeding, it is advisable to have legal counsel. Whether you wish to proceed with or without an attorney is a decision that only you can make. Neither the Solicitor General’s office, State Court Judge or Clerk of Court are allowed to give you legal advice.   
  8. Can I just pay my traffic ticket? Some traffic tickets may be paid prior to the court date listed on the ticket. Other traffic tickets, such as driving with a suspended license and driving without insurance require a court appearance. To determine whether your ticket can be paid in advance, visit www.spaldingcounty.com and click on the “Traffic Ticket Payment” link on the left side of the page. 
  9. Who does the Solicitor General represent? The Solicitor General represents the State of Georgia in misdemeanor criminal cases. The Solicitor general does not represent criminal Defendants and cannot give legal advice.
  10. Can I drop the charges against a person? You may contact the Victim Advocate in the Spalding County Solicitor’s office at (770) 467-4358 to express your desire as to the outcome of the case. While your feelings will be considered, the prosecuting attorney may decide to prosecute any case that they believe is in the best interest of the citizens of Spalding County.  
  11. What if I move before my court date? It is your responsibility to keep the Court informed of your current address. Court notices will be sent to the address provided at booking or on the traffic citation. Failure to provide a current address may result in a bench warrant, bond forfeiture or failure to appear being entered against you.
  12. How do I get the money I posted as bond back? The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for receiving, holding and returning bond money. Once your case has been resolved, you must contact the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office to request a return of your bond.