Federal prosecutor starts new role for the City of Savannah

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 11:45 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - As gun violence continues in Savannah, city council is making a bold move to get some help. We’re ending the year with a new federal prosecutor hired to work for the city.

Four months in the making, the City of Savannah’s new partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office is underway. The new Special Assistant US Attorney Makeia Jonese started a couple of weeks ago.

Jonese’s hiring is part of Savannah’s three-pronged approach to curb violent crime: prevention, intervention, and prosecution.

“It needs to be very clear...very severe consequences for that,” said Mayor Van Johnson.

The signed 5-page memorandum of understanding lays out what the city and what the US Attorney’s Office will be responsible for along with the responsibilities of the new prosecutor.

It states “the SAUSA will work primarily on violent crime matters” and the “USAO will control case assignments and supervise the SAUSA in all matters undertaken on behalf of USAO. The final decision-making authority on all cases remains with the United States Attorney and designated management within the USAO.”

This is not to be confused with the work of Chatham County’s district attorney.

“The agreement with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of GA has nothing to do with the Chatham Co. District Attorney’s Office. The Chatham Co. DA prosecutes state crimes. The US Attorney prosecutes federal crimes.”

Crime continues to be an issue the city addresses often. This appointment comes not long after four shootings happened just last weekend.

“We’re serious about gun violence in this community. If you want to pull triggers in the City of Savannah, you’re gonna do some time. If it crosses the federal threshold, you’ll do federal time.”

The new partnership is just another resource in the city’s toolbox to deter crime and make criminals think twice about trying to get away with anything.

The mayor said: “It helps the Chatham Co. district attorney because you have investigative content that can be turned over. I think we should all be trying to prosecute as many folks as we can that are pulling triggers in our community.”

The city has said the pay for this role will not exceed $100,000.

The city can also provide funding for an assistant to support the SAUSA under this agreement if they choose to do so.