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More D.A. Dough

Assistant district attorneys will get an increase in their salaries.

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State-paid assistant district attorneys in Tennessee will soon be seeing green, but their workloads won't be getting much lighter. Recently passed legislation will bring their salaries up to par with the national average, but another bill that would have increased the number of assistant district attorneys across the state was adjusted to a lower number of new attorneys than proponents of the legislation had hoped for.

As of July 1st, salaries for entry-level assistant district attorneys will increase from $31,044 to $38,124, bringing salaries closer to the national average of $38,250. The salary is still less than the $43,260 earned by entry-level attorneys in the Shelby County Public Defender's Office, but according to Jennifer Donnals, public relations director for the Shelby County District Attorneys Office, it's a start. She says the office is now working to convince the County Commission to raise salaries for county-paid assistant district attorneys.

Another bill that would have increased the number of assistant district attorneys in offices across the state was passed, but the request for 46 new assistant district attorneys was lowered to 30. Shelby County had requested nine new attorneys.

"Right now, all the district attorneys across the state are meeting in Nashville and they're negotiating with one another on who's going to get what positions," said Donnals. "They should be releasing a number soon, but we definitely won't get the nine we'd hoped for."

The average caseload per assistant D.A. in Shelby County is 1,076 per year. For comparison, in Bronx County, New York, assistant D.A.'s only handle about 181 cases per year. n

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