A Newnan attorney has been named district attorney of the Coweta Judicial Circuit, which includes Carroll County.
J. Herbert Cranford will succeed Pete Skandalakis, who resigned to become the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia. Skandalakis had served for 25 years as the district attorney.
Cranford is a former Coweta Judicial Circuit assistant district attorney. He was appointed to his new position by Gov. Nathan Deal.
“It goes without saying but it is an honor,” Cranford said. “I enjoyed meeting the governor when we interviewed and I think a lot of him and what he has done in the state, especially on issues related to the criminal justice system.”
Cranford has been a prosecutor of criminal cases in Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Meriwether and Troup counties for five years.
When asked if he is in favor of having someone prosecute gang, drug and violent cases at the local level, Cranford not only agreed but said he tried the first gang case in the Coweta Judicial Circuit.
“It was back in May of 2015, and I believe that it was the first gang case to actually go to trial,” Cranford said. “We were able to get a guilty verdict, so it is fair to say that I was among the leaders in the circuit in understanding that.”
Cranford said that though working out of the Coweta D.A.’s office, he has worked gang cases with local investigators.
“I think highly of the work they do,” said Cranford. “I have enjoyed working with them and to continue the efforts that I have already started on. It’s a focus of mine.”
With Carroll County being the second largest county in the circuit and having the highest felony caseload, Cranford said he will be here often.
“It is appropriate that I spend a lot of time and focus there, and I intend to do that,” he said. “Gangs are also a reality that we need to face. I will have my attention on the gangs in our communities that target and recruit our kids. I intend to do what I can, in my role, to work with not just law enforcement but also the community at large.”
Cranford said the solution is to not just prosecute and incarcerate but to have an impact on children who are in middle school. Cranford said that if the community does not influence children enough, the gangs could take control by having a bigger influence.
Cranford said he plans on having a strong relationship with the University of West Georgia because it too deals with criminal issues.
“Just about every large college has their issues with crime,” he said. “But everyone who goes there and receives an education deserves to be and feel safe, and that is something I strongly believe in and will focus on as well.”