DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston says her first year in office feels like “the day that’s never ended.”
“It feels like yesterday I was getting sworn in,” said Boston, who was appointed to the position previously held by current county district attorney Robert James. “It actually feels really good. It’s been a good year.”
Boston began her second year in office by successfully prosecuting Tywann Vaughn, a Lithonia woman accused of not properly restraining her two pit bulls that attacked an 8-year-old girl who subsequently lost part of an arm.
“I was really glad that I had the opportunity to try the Tywann Vaughn case,” Boston said. “[As] a trial lawyer, being in the courtroom is really where my passion lies.”
Boston said the Vaughn case was important for the county because it allowed her to be “a voice in the courtroom for victims in our community.”
“At the end of the day, that is the most important thing that this office does,” Boston said.
The solicitor general’s office, which handled approximately 13,000 cases last year, prosecutes all misdemeanor crimes, including driving under the influence, family violence, elder abuse, sexual battery, animal cruelty, educational negligence, second-degree vehicular homicide, non-payment of child support and shoplifting.
DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis said, “Sherry Boston has done an admirable job in her first year in office, prosecuting and deterring crime and maintaining the high quality of life here in DeKalb County.
“Her pre-trial diversion programs are at the forefront of the national standard, which illustrates her leadership in this area,” Ellis said.
Boston “came in and hit the ground running,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May.
“One thing that I like about her approach is that she’s come forward with a number of ideas as to how she could bring additional revenue to the county [and] how she could streamline their operations,” May said. “She’s kept the line of communications open with the BOC. I’ve been pretty satisfied with her work.”
After taking office, Boston reorganized the operations, establishing a special victims’ unit headed by Deputy Chief Solicitor General Jessica Rock. Boston also formed Diversion and Community Alternative Program (DCAP), which is the umbrella over all programs that have a diversionary component. Kiesha Storey is the deputy chief over DCAP and Deputy Chief Solicitor General Kelly McMichael oversees the state court prosecutions.
“We really are a family and a team in this office,” Boston said. “I feel really blessed. I could not do any of what I do without the amazing team of folks that is here to help me every day.”
Boston also hired the county’s first full-time community prosecutor, Sonja Brown.
“She is really going to be the liaison between the community, my office, other elected officials, homeowner associations, other community leaders and private partners to find alternative ways to attack crime,” Boston said.
Boston said she made the position full time to show “we can make sure we are focusing in on the areas that are the most crime-ridden.”
Boston’s goal as solicitor general is to “make really smart decisions about how we approach cases, collaborate with other partners in the community in an effort to make sure that we are address all the issues that they have, not just opening and closing cases that come to us through the door, but hoping to stop some of these crimes before they happen.”
Last year Boston’s office participated in several community events, including Paws for the Cause, back to school expositions, anti-crime events, community clean-ups and she held a domestic violence forum.
When she’s not working Boston tries to be a “normal, everyday, average mom” of her two daughters, ages 3 and 5, that she rears with her husband of seven years, Ed Baines, a vice president of a national sales account at Coca-Cola.
“I don’t know if that’s possible any more, but I really try,” Boston said. “Much of my free time is spent with my children and trying to be best mother and role model and support system for them.”
That includes being a room mom at her daughter’s preschool, making crafts, baking cookies and “being a cheerleader on the sideline for the stuff that they love,” Boston said.
Boston is also an avid reader and considers herself to be “somewhat of a budding culinary foodie chef.”
Boston said her goals for 2012 are to make her office more technologically savvy and to establish an abandonment court to address people who are not paying child support.
“Our goal, obviously, is not to put those people in jail,” Boston said. “Our goal is to get those families the support that they are entitled to have.”