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Convictions on the rise for Athens County Prosecutor

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn only had three trials in a 12-month period ending last month.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn’s office had a near-perfect conviction rate over a 12-month period ending last month.

According to Blackburn’s annual report filed with the Athens County Board of Commissioners, his office prosecuted 533 criminals to conviction between Sept. 1, 2013 and Aug. 31, while only 10 defendants had their cases dismissed.

Of those cases that led to convictions, only three actually went to trial, the report shows.

Coming off a summer in which Blackburn coordinated what he described as the largest drug bust in county history, he said he was pleased with the year’s work.

“All the cases ended with the results we wanted. (One) hundred percent," Blackburn said. “I’m very proud of it.”

Blackburn also noted that he has never seen such a high rate.

“This is the highest rate we’ve ever had,” he said. “We had a great year with amazing staff.”

Out of 533 convicted defendants, 132 individuals were put into a diversion program and 362 defendants accepted plea deals before trial. Only one defendant case went to trial and was found guilty, according to the figures, and two accepted plea deals during trial.

The report also showed a bigger caseload than the previous year. According to the report, the number of total defendants grew from 503 to 533, showing a six percent increase over the two years.

“I can’t speculate the cause of it, but it’s a concerning fact,” Blackburn said.


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