Meet The Attys For Ga. In Prosecutor Oversight Board Suit
Law360 (August 23, 2023, 4:43 PM EDT) — The state of Georgia has turned to four attorneys from Robbins Alloy Belinfante Littlefield LLC, including lawyers who have defended state officials in previous disputes, to defend the Peach State against a suit from four district attorneys challenging a state law that created a new prosecutorial watchdog commission.
The DAs – DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady, Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jared Williams and Towaliga Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jonathan Adams – filed their suit against the state in Fulton County Superior Court on Aug. 2, urging the state to overturn as unconstitutional the law that created the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission earlier this year.
After Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 92 into law in May, he created the commission, which has the ability to discipline, remove or cause involuntary retirement of appointed or elected district attorneys or solicitors general. The commission is tasked with writing its rules and standards by October, the earliest it could start taking complaints, and those rules and standards must be approved by the state’s Supreme Court, according to the law.
Responding to the suit, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr told Law360 earlier this month that “district attorneys who choose to violate their oaths of office are not immune from accountability, and we will vigorously defend this law in court.” Kemp and various leaders have appointed the eight members of the commission.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Paige Reese Whitaker asked the parties in the suit on Aug. 14 to consider if her proximity to DA Boston means the judge should recuse herself from presiding over the case. In her filling, Judge Whitaker said she serves alongside Boston on the board for the nonprofit Lawyers Club of Atlanta. Founded in 1922, the club has 1,800 members, including lawyers and judges, according to its website.
Judge Whitaker gave the parties two weeks to either file a waiver of potential disqualification, or let the court know that they do not consent to waive the potential disqualification, and she will recuse herself from the case. Neither party has filed a response to the judge’s request.
Here, Law360 Pulse takes a look at the four attorneys representing the Peach State in this headline grabbing suit: Josh Belinfante, Charles “Chuck” Boring, Carey A. Miller and Anna N. Edmondson.
Named partner Belinfante told Law360 Pulse that the legal team is representing the state’s attorney general’s office as special assistant attorneys general.
Belinfante, Miller and Edmondson helped successfully defend Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the State Election Board in a federal suit filed by Fair Fight Action Inc., the voting rights group started by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. The dispute was filed days after the 2018 election.
In October, U.S. District Judge Steven Jones upheld Georgia election laws on all counts in the dispute, saying that although the state’s election system “is not perfect,” its practices don’t violate the U.S. Constitution or the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The ruling concluded the long-running suit that had challenged the state’s absentee ballot practices, oversight of voter rolls and “exact match” law, which requires a citizen’s government-issued ID to precisely match the name listed on voter rolls.
“It all stemmed from allegations that the state was disenfranchising Georgia voters, and I think we were able to demonstrate there was just not evidence of that and it wasn’t happening, certainly from our perspective,” Belinfante said.
He also defended the state against a federal suit filed by attorney Sidney Powell on behalf of former President Donald Trump. Georgia successfully got the dispute dismissed, defeating claims that the state’s elections were compromised during the 2020 election, Belinfante said.
Belinfante’s practice includes advising clients on commercial litigation. He also counsels clients in heavily regulated industries such as gaming, energy and health care, and has handled high-profile matters like advising governmental entities.
Before joining Robbins Alloy in 2009, Belinfante served as executive counsel for then-Gov. Sonny Perdue.
While serving Perdue’s office, Belinfante said, his days were never the same.
“It gave you such a breadth of experience across ways that the state government operates and frankly that businesses operate in Georgia,” Belinfante said. “It’s been a tremendous experience andcertainly it’s helped in terms of cases, whether like this one with the DA lawsuit dealing with statutes and the state Constitution provisions that are frankly not litigated all that much, to cases involving elections and civil rights cases we’ve had that were brought against the state.”
Belinfante also previously was an associate at Balch & Bingham LLP and Alston & Bird LLP, legal counsel to the Georgia House Judiciary Committee and law clerk to Eleventh Circuit Judge J.L. Edmondson. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.
Charles “Chuck” Boring Robbins Alloy
Since Boring joined Robbins Alloy in January, according to his Linkedln profile, he has guided clients on matters including civil litigation, governmental and internal investigations, and white collar criminal allegations, according to his firm bio. He advises governmental entities, nonprofits and individuals.
Before joining private practice for the first time in his legal career, Boring served as the director of the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission, which trains judges, investigates claims of unethical conduct by state judges and recommends discipline for judicial misconduct.
“It was a good learning experience to delve into different areas of the law,” Boring told Law360 Pulse. “In addition to the disciplinary process, we regulated and trained judges at every level of court and at every different type of court, so I learned a little about many aspects of the law that I previously had no experience with. I also gained more experience with civil rules of procedure.”
Boring said he learned something from every one of the disciplinary cases that came before the commission.
“Cross-examining a judge during a trial was not something that I had ever done before, and now and now I’ve done it several times,” Boring said. Prior to his time on the commission, Boring was a criminal prosecutor for nearly 20 years, where he gained courtroom experience “that [he] could probably have not gained at any other type of job,” he said. He has served as Cobb County’s deputy chief assistant district attorney, as an Atlanta Judicial Circuit prosecutor handling cases involving homicide, major cases and special victims, and a prosecutor for the Coweta Judicial Circuit.”I earned the respect for the judicial system and how it operates and in that role as a gatekeeper, having an extreme amount of responsibility to see that justice is done,” Boring said. Boring earned his bachelor’s degree at Georgia Southern University and his law degree from Georgia State University College of Law.
Carey A. Miller
Miller joined the firm nearly five years ago, according to his Linkedln profile. Before working at Robbins Alloy, Miller served as executive counsel for then-Gov. Nathan Deal, and also served the governor’s office as deputy executive counsel and policy adviser. Miller advises clients on litigation, regulatory disputes and investigations, campaign and election law, and government affairs, according to his firm bio. He is also part of Robbins Government Relations LLC, a firm affiliate.
He has guided private and government clients on litigation matters involving common law, constitutional torts, contracts and administrative appeals. He also advises political committees and candidates with matters before the Federal Elections Commission and the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.While working for Deal, Miller was responsible for legal matters related to the state’s executive branch and working with state agencies.
He also worked closely with the state’s judiciary, including guiding the governor on judicial appointments as well as legislative and policy matters. While working with Deal, he helped the state manage its interests in the “water wars” dispute involving the Peach State, Alabama, Florida and the federal government over water allocation in two major river basins that cross those states’ borders. He continues to advise the state on related matters. Miller earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia and his law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.
Anna N. Edmondson
Edmondson joined the firm as an associate more than two years ago after working as an associate at Taylor English Duma LLP, according to her Linkedln profile. Her background includes handling matters involving environmental regulations and transactions, pharmaceutical and health care fraud, and construction disputes, according to her firm bio. She is also a lobbyist with Robbins Government Relations, where she guides clients on legislative matters involving health care, transportation, education and economic development. Edmondson previously served the Georgia Senate in nonpartisan roles, including working with the State and Local Government Operations Committee, the Secretary of the Senate and the Senate Research Office. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Kennesaw State University and her law degree from Georgia State University College of Law.
–Additional reporting by Kelcey Caulder. Editing by Alanna Weissman and Lakshna Mehta.