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Cobb rep’s bill would let minors who shoot cops be tried as adults

A Cobb legislator’s bill making it easier for minors accused of shooting police officers to be tried as adults will be up for a vote on the House floor Monday.

State Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta sponsored the bill after Marietta police officer Scott Davis was shot on duty early Aug. 11 by an unidentified 15-year-old member of the Bloods gang.

That teen’s case started in juvenile court where Cobb Judge Joanne Elsey denied an attempt by prosecutors to move the case to Superior Court where he would have been tried as an adult.

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“Nobody understands how she came to this conclusion,” Reeves, a Marietta attorney, said of the judge’s decision.

House Bill 116 would make it so prosecutors have the option to indict those minors in superior court instead of the case starting in juvenile court.

There are currently eight types of charges that give district attorneys such leeway, ranging from murder to armed robbery with a gun.

The bill would still allow the option to send a minor back to juvenile court.

Since sponsoring this bill Reeves has come to know Davis, the 10-year police veteran who underwent five surgeries before returning to duty 21 weeks after being shot.

“This issue has shaken him to the core really in two ways: physically ... and (with) what happened with the juvenile court decision,” Reeves said.

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A call from Marietta police chief Dan Flynn got Reeves involved.

“He simply just asked me, ‘Is there something we can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again?’ And I thought that was a very fair question,” Reeves said.

Flynn and Davis have attended every hearing and plan on being at the Capitol on Monday, he said.

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Reeves sponsored House Bill 874 last year, which stiffens penalties against prisoners who use cellphones to conduct gang activity. It was signed into law May 3.

His bill this year must pass the House by Crossover Day on March 3, when legislation has to have been approved by one chamber to have a chance to become law.

The state Senate approved a package of pro-police bills Friday being referred to as the “Back the Badge Act of 2017.” One of those bills was structured after Reeves’ effort.

“I don’t care whose bill passes,” Reeves said. “If you pull a gun on a cop or shoot at a cop, you’ve sailed beyond juvenile treatment.”

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