Olens is up for re-election this November and faces Democratic challenger Greg Hecht.
Among those in attendance at the luncheon were Bonnie Perdue, wife of Republican Senate candidate David Perdue, and Superior Court Judge-elect Ann Harris.
The AG began by discussing the state’s accountability courts. These courts attempt to help nonviolent offenders with drug, alcohol, mental health or family problems by giving judges a sentencing alternative other than jail time. Olens said Gov. Nathan Deal has really “pushed” the accountability courts. Cobb has a drug treatment and mental health accountability court and a recently added court for veterans.
Olens said the public is mostly unaware of the good these courts do. He said when he attends graduation events for them, he is approached by people who say they would have lost their children, or their life, if it wasn’t for the accountability courts. Olens also encouraged audience members to go to one of these ceremonies.
“You get to see a lot of how your county actually has some programs that make a difference,” he said.
The AG went on to say his office has also been working to help people affected by drug addiction. For example, he worked to help get legislation passed which requires pain management clinics to be doctor-owned. He also praised the recent “amnesty” bill passed by the state legislature.
“If you’re at a house and someone has (overdosed), you call 911, and the person making the call won’t be arrested,” he said, describing the law.
Olens also described his involvement in cases related to federal overreach, including many of the suits related to the Affordable Care Act.
For example, he said his office was involved in the Supreme Court case in which the owners of the for-profit company Hobby Lobby sought a religious exemption from the birth control mandate in the law.
When Olens opened the floor for questions, Harris asked if his office had any standing to file suit against any executive action by President Barack Obama addressing the current immigration crisis.
“The tricky comment is the last comment: Do I have standing? In order to have standing, you have to have a particular injury,” he said.
As the state’s law department, Olens said it’s unlikely he could claim a particular injury. Still, while he might not be able to file a suit, Olens said he could contribute to such a case.
“That’s why (in) a lot of the federal overreach litigation we’re involved in, we do amicus briefs rather than court briefs because we don’t have standing to bring the case, but we can certainly help the case,” he said.
D.A. King, an anti-illegal immigration activist, followed up Harris’ question by asking about what he claims are undocumented immigrants who are also violent criminals.
“Do you have any recourse with the federal government from your office were these people to create any more harm in our state or our country?” he asked.
Olens responded by saying he could not comment without reading information about what King was referring to.
Finally, Olens was asked by Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren about the situation currently unfolding in Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old, was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson. Since the shooting, protestors and law enforcement personnel have clashed several times.
Olens took offense to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon saying Wilson needed to be prosecuted aggressively.
“They’re playing to Al Sharpton and not playing to the law. You know, this officer deserves the same ability to have a fair trial as you and I do. And this rush to judgment is totally inappropriate. … Clearly, I want both the state and federal governments to do a thorough investigation. I want them to talk to anyone and everyone. I want there to be no question that everything was done to find all the facts that related to that event. But we don’t live in a country where speed determines justice,” he said.