Special prosecutor named in commissioner's domestic violence case

An Atlanta lawyer for the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia has been named special prosecutor in the domestic violence case against Augusta Commission member Alvin Mason.


The office of state Attorney General Sam Olens reported Friday that Joe Burford is prosecuting the case against Mason. Burford serves as director of the attorneys council’s state prosecution support division.

Mason was charged Dec. 27 with family violence battery after his wife told Richmond County sheriff’s deputies that the commissioner had grabbed her by the throat and pushed her against the wall Dec. 23.

The Richmond County prosecutor who normally would handle domestic violence cases, State Court Solicitor Charles Evans, asked last month to recuse his office from handling the case because the commission sets its budget.

Augusta lawyer Freddie Sanders, who is representing Mason, said Friday that he believes Mason has a good defense.

“I just think it was a family disturbance that didn’t rise to the level of battery,” Sanders said. “These are just sad situations.”

Sanders and Olens’ office said the case will be tried in Augusta unless someone requests it be moved. No Richmond County State Court judges have recused themselves from hearing the case, Sanders said.

With the Prosecuting Attorneys Council, which helps prosecutors across the state, Burford has assisted district attorneys in death penalty cases and prosecuted a Georgia judge accused of election fraud, according to news reports. His office could not be reached for comment Friday.

Mason is serving his second term as commissioner and has previously reported he has considered a run for mayor.

He is scheduled to be arraigned March 29.

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