Macon Circuit DA's Office Releases More Files

10:32 AM, Nov 6, 2012   |    comments
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For weeks David Cooke, the Democratic candidate in the race for Bibb County's District Attorney, has criticized incumbent Greg Winters' record as a prosecutor.

Cooke released a list of of over one hundred cases that he says current D.A Greg Winters mishandled. He even went as far as to say Winters was trying to keep those records secret until after Tuesday's election.

13WMAZ put in an open records request for those case files, and last week, 13WMAZ's Randall Savage reviewed more than a dozen murder and rape cases. 

He found that all of them were dismissed for what seemed to be legitimate reasons, like mistaken identity, witnesses giving different statements and in one case a video that didn't support the accusation.

Monday we reviewed records for six child molestation cases that Cooke questioned. Those records also showed that all six were dismissed for apparently legitimate reasons, including a lack of evidence; the victim's mother asking for the case to be dismissed; and the alleged victim having given false statements.

Cooke has listed those cases in a document that he released criticizing Winters' track record, and he's talked about them in ads. But employees in the District Attorney's office told us Cooke has never requested the files on those cases to find out why charges were dropped.

At David Cooke's news conference Monday, we asked him to explain why he cited those cases, but he declined to answer. "Perhaps we can do that another time," he said.

Monday evening, Cooke contacted 13WMAZ and offered to comment on the files.

In an interview, he said: "we know that the time for (Winters) to turn these records over is a long time ago and he didn't do it until the day before the election. If he was proud of them -- if he was proud of them -- he would have talked about them throughout the campaign."

Winters said that his employees worked over the weekend to get the files ready for Cooke's campaign. Winters said a Cooke supporter came in Monday morning, looked at a couple of files and said she would come back later but never returned.

Cooke contacted 13WMAZ after our initial story aired at 5 p.m. Monday. He said Winters "cherry-picked and he waited" until the day before the election to release the files. 

He reiterated a claim that an open records request was made for some of the files in September by a victims' advocate.

The District Attorney is chief prosecutor for the Macon Judicial Circuit, which covers Bibb, Peach and Crawford Counties.

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