Profuse praise for the newly elected Cherokee Judicial Circuit district attorney follows. Greene’s gift seems to come from a steely determination hidden beneath a softer approach.
A 1992 Cartersville High School graduate, Greene pursued her bachelor’s degree at LaGrange College before completing her law degree at Mercer University in 2000.
“My father, Gene Greene, was a lawyer here in Cartersville for many years, so the law and the courthouse happenings have always been part of my life. So it was natural to look to the legal realm when it came time to choose a profession,” said Greene, who feels being a prosecutor allows her to make a difference both in people's lives and in the community.
“The Cherokee Circuit is a microcosm of Georgia right now. Suburban and rural. Full of history and the old way of doing things, and yet rapidly changing in landscape and population,” she said. “It’s my home and always has been, so I feel a special connection to it.”
The corner office with a view at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center comes after more than a decade with the Cherokee Circuit, which covers Bartow and Gordon counties. Greene ran unopposed in the 2012 election, becoming the first female district attorney for the circuit.
That feat is not where Greene places emphasis.
“While I do recognize that I am the first woman to hold this position, I really like to focus on the challenges anyone coming into this position would face,” she said. “I hope to continue to serve the people of Bartow and Gordon counties by using their tax dollars efficiently, both in the courtroom and in the day-to-day management of the offices.”
And, while finances top the list of challenges for the new DA, she also sees the evolving world of crime as an area that presents issues.
“The economy continues to put pressure on all government offices, so budgeting to run two offices can be a challenge. And, while, sadly, crime never stops, the nature of some criminal activity is changing,” she said. “Technology has opened up new avenues for the worst among us to prey on others. So keeping one step ahead of these changing criminal techniques is something the entire office will be working hard to accomplish.
“But my entire office will go into that full speed ahead. The dedication of my colleagues and staff is such a blessing. They are definitely my biggest asset.”
Budgeting factors at the state level have been felt by Greene’s office, particularly in the way criminals are sentenced.
“There are many changes that the General Assembly is considering that will impact crime and the way we will prosecute cases. The budget crisis affects many of the sentencing options that are now available to prosecutors throughout the state,” Greene said.
After 12 years in law, Greene said some cases linger more than others, particularly those involving children.
“As a parent you are always seeing your own little ones, struggling [with], ‘how can anyone hurt a child?’” said Greene, who shares three children with husband Mark Mathison.
“Sometimes it can take months from the time the details of a particular case first reach me until the sentencing,” she added. “I do think of one such case in particular where I watched the children change so much during that time, dealing with the abuse they had suffered. And, even though the case is closed for me, I know that as young adults they are, no doubt, still struggling.”