Bobby Christine announced as Columbia County district attorney
COLUMBIA COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s been just a little over a month since Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill giving Columbia County its own judicial circuit.
On Wednesday, Kemp took another big step announcing former U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine as the county’s first district attorney. We were the first to sit down with him just hours after the announcement.
“You know this is different than me being handed the keys to an existing office, this is going to be building an office,” said Bobby Christine, Columbia County’s appointed district attorney.
But building an office from scratch is a challenge Columbia County’s newly appointed DA says he’s ready for.
“I think we have the opportunity here at the very beginning of the creation of a judicial circuit. To set the ship right. We will not fail. The consequences of failure would just be--too dramatic,” said Christine.
Bobby Christine comes with a long list of titles most recently serving as the U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia since 2017. But the DA hat will be a new one.
“Some of the challenges I think there are going to be administrative challenges, there are going to be logistical challenges, and I’m excited about those,” said Christine.
The split from Richmond County raised concern over caseload and affordability but representative Mark Newton says this is something Columbia County was prepared for.
“We’ve got the amount of time to do it, got a little over two months. I think Bobby will hit the ground running with that and we’ll have a great team,” said state Rep. Mark Newton.
In a statement, Augusta DA Jared Williams said ”Bobby Christine is extremely qualified, and I look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition for the citizens of Columbia County. "
Collaboration that’s already begun.
“He [Jared Williams] has already made an effort to assist in that regard. So I don’t think we could have a better partner to execute this with,” said Christine.
He calls the opportunity a blessing.
“Despite the gray hair, I still think I’ve got the energy to jump in there and do it and I’m excited to have a mission to get after,” he said.
Columbia County Manager Scott Johnson issued this statement:
“We are thankful for the Governor’s quick decision and look forward to working with the new District Attorney, Bobby Christine, in the Columbia Judicial Circuit. I will be meeting with the District Attorney in the near future to provide budget assistance as he selects the members of his staff. We are expecting a smooth transition and feel confident that the new circuit will serve the judicial needs of the citizens of Columbia County well.”
Christine’s term will start on July 1 and it’ll last through 2022. He says his first task when he steps into office is getting things organized and putting justice at the forefront of everything.
When the pandemic hit more than 24,000 cases were put on hold in the Augusta Judicial Circuit. Christine will now be taking some of those over. Richmond and Burke Counties will remain together in the Augusta circuit.
Copyright 2021 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.