The Cherokee Judicial Circuit deputy district attorney was named in July the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia’s Assistant District Attorney of the Year for 2012. Each year during the organization’s conference, the District Attorneys’ Association of Georgia presents this award to recognize outstanding leadership and dedication in the field of prosecution.
“We have a tremendous number of outstanding prosecutors in our state and I am honored to receive this distinction,” Fox said.
Serving as an assistant district attorney for 22 years, she has served as the lead or sole prosecutor in more than 370 actual trials.
“I don’t know a single career prosecutor who works for the money or the possibility of awards,” Fox said. “We have a passion for helping victims and serving our communities. I am blessed to have the opportunity to go to work every day and make a positive difference in someone’s life in what I truly believe is the best job in the world.”
Cherokee Judicial Circuit District Attorney T. Joseph Campbell praised Fox for her commitment to serving the citizens of Georgia as deputy district attorney.
“Ms. Fox’s daily service to this office and the public has been exceptional from the beginning with me back in December of 1992,” Campbell said. “She exemplifies what it takes to be a tough, but fair prosecutor with the requisite concern for the victim.”
Name: Sharon M. Fox
Occupation: Deputy District Attorney
City of Residence: Calhoun
Family: Husband, Burton; children, Jacob, 20, and Benjamin, 19
Education: High school, 1983, Lassiter High School; Associate in Science, Business Administration, 1985, Kennesaw College; Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, 1986, Kennesaw College; Juris Doctor, 1989, Georgia State University, College of Law
The state award for Assistant District Attorney of the Year for 2012 is a huge award. How did you get to this point? Talk about the path that lead you here.
A: I always wanted a job where I would make a difference in the lives of the people I met. I volunteered at the hospital during high school in what was essentially a nursing home. One of the nurses took an interest in me. I could type 135 words a minute and was thinking of pursuing a career as a legal secretary. She asked why I wanted to be the secretary when I could be the lawyer. At that point, I became focused on pursuing my education to become a lawyer.
During law school, I worked for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta. I had an opportunity to work in the civil and criminal divisions. It was at that point I knew that I wanted to focus on becoming a prosecutor. I worked in private practice in Sandy Springs after graduating law school while I waited for an opening to become available in one of the local district attorney’s offices. I was hired as the Gordon County Assistant District Attorney in 1990. In February 1992, I accepted a state position in our office which allowed me to travel to Bartow County and serve the public here as well. From 1992 through 2000, I primarily tried child crimes for Bartow County and maintained a standard caseload for Gordon County. From 2000-2005 I was the designated the special prosecutor for child abuse cases in Bartow County and was assigned to a judge in Gordon County where I maintained a standard case load. With the appointment of the fourth judge, we could no longer dedicate a prosecutor for child abuse cases; at that point, I was assigned to a trial team to prosecute cases in front of a single judge in both counties.
I have tried over 370 cases in my career.
I also chair the Child Fatality Review Committee in Gordon County, serve on the Child Abuse Protocol Committee for Gordon County, handled all of the fraud and abuse civil cases for Gordon County until 2011, and handled all of the civil forfeiture cases in Gordon County since 2006. It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with and for Joe Campbell since 1992. Mr. Campbell nominated me for the award.
What motivated your interest and pursuit of a career in criminal justice?
A: I would incorporate my answer to question number 1. This career gives me the opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life every day.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: I have a passion for helping victims and serving our community. I absolutely love the fact that I can interact with our victims and witnesses. It is rewarding when I can watch the transformation of a victim from desperation to hope and encouragement, especially when they can visualize a positive future despite the crime that had been afflicted against them.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing our judicial system at the local level?
A: The biggest challenge that I see is that we do not have a State Court in Bartow County. All victims of crimes are important, it can be disheartening for victims of misdemeanor crimes because their cases are put on the same calendars with child molestations, aggravated assaults and murders. It is challenging to ensure that their cases receive timely prosecution. A State Court would make these minor crimes a priority.
What makes Bartow County special?
A: Bartow County is special because of its people. I have an opportunity to interact with law enforcement, witnesses, victims and attorneys in Bartow County every week. Many of these individuals have been raised in Bartow County and some have chosen Bartow County as their new home. Regardless of how they ended up in Bartow County, I believe Bartow County has a tremendous number of talented and interesting people. It is a pleasure to come here to serve your community.
If you could do anything else — a dream job, if you will — what would it be?
A: This is my dream job. I truly believe it is the best job in the world. I hope to stay as a prosecutor until I retire. At that point, we intend to do more mission work.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I worked four jobs at the same time to pay for college because my family would not be able to afford it. I worked as a waitress in law school and paid for law school as well. I never took out a student loan and graduated with no debt. I am constantly encouraging young people to pursue their education. It is something they can attain if they are willing to work for it.
What personal philosophy do you live by?
A: I am a Christian. Like the servant in Matthew, I would like to finish my life and hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
What is your favorite meal?
A: Both of my children are in college, my favorite meal is any meal we can all sit down and eat together.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things could you not live without?
A: How sad! I would be working very hard to get off of that island. People and relationships with them are more important to me than possessions but I would not wish any of them to be stranded with me. I cannot think of a single possession that I could not live without.