The Sandy Springs City Council approved Leslie M. Donaho as the city municipal court's new solicitor at its May 7, 2019 meeting.

Sandy Springs’ new solicitor to bring diversion program, court changes

Sandy Springs' new municipal court head has plans to start more modern legal programs.

The Sandy Springs City Council last Monday approved a $304,000 contract to hire Leslie M. Donaho as the city solicitor and two part-time solicitors to help her handle cases. That contract amount accounts for the salaries of all three positions

Municipal courts are often the first courtrooms people find themselves in. The local courts handle things like violations of traffic laws, local ordinances and low-level state misdemeanors.

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Georgia Bar records show that Donaho is a graduate of Georgia State University’s law program and that she has been bar certified to practice in Georgia since 2006.

The city said it expects her to change several things in the court, including the addition of diversion treatment programs.

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These programs have taken many forms in the metro area, including systems set up to deal with the specific needs of veterans, people addicted to drugs and those who have a confirmed mental illness as a way to illicit change instead of criminal charges.

Such cases will be reviewed by Sandy Springs police. 

“Mental health and substance abuse issues are at an all-time high, and incarcerating these defendants over rehabilitation does little to help the cause of the crime and has a negative impact on our jail system,” said city attorney Dan Lee.

The city said in a news release that it considered five public bids before picking Donaho, who starts June 1.

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