Meet Brian

Brian and Amanda Patterson

I come from a long line of public servants. My mother was an educator, my father was a pioneer in putting personal computers in the hands of families and my grandfather was an elected prosecuting attorney and later served two Democratic governors.

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, thanks to my grandfather’s influence on me, I decided that I would become a lawyer. He encouraged me to join a private law firm and “make a good living.” He even told me, “Don’t become a prosecutor because there’s no money in it.” So, when I graduated from the UGA’s School of Law, I took his advice and went to work for one of the most respected law firms in Atlanta. I worked with great lawyers and “made a good living,” but, for me, something was missing.

So, in Spring 2001, I walked into my boss’ office and resigned because I knew that I wanted to do more with my life. I was drawn to public service and the idea that we should all strive to leave the world better than we found it. But I didn’t know quite what that would look like for me. So, I decided to take a year off and thru-hike the Appalachian Trail to find my own path to service. I began the hike on April 8, 2001, and finished the hike on September 18, 50 pounds lighter, with considerably more hair. Needless to say, the world I was returning to was a completely different place. 

When I emerged from the trail, I walked into a convenience store, saw news footage of the World Trade Center collapsing and heard the news about 9/11. I was at once heartbroken and inspired by the countless stories of countless American heroes who stepped up to make a difference in the midst of this horrific tragedy. I knew then that safeguarding my community and advocating for those who had been wronged was my purpose. 

When I returned home to Athens, I was fortunate that the District Attorney asked me to join his office as a prosecuting attorney, representing the people of Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties. Now,18 years and more than 100 jury trials later, I’m even more excited to have the opportunity to lead this office as Acting District Attorney. 

I have big shoes to fill. Athens set the standard for transparent accountability in the justice system, which has sparked nationwide revolutionary changes to the courts and justice systems. 

Our circuit is a national model for innovative criminal justice reform measures that keep the community safe while giving non-violent offenders a second chance. We are pioneers in embracing the philosophy that while it is always better to prevent crime than punish criminals, we must do this in a way that keeps our community safe. As District Attorney you can count on me to build on this strong foundation of progressive leadership. 

While I have successfully prosecuted thousands of cases, personally litigated over 150 appeals, and have over 80 published appellate court opinions, I believe my job is not about winning or losing; it’s about getting to the truth of what happened and why. I value fair and impartial justice above all else, and as DA I will ensure that every case meets that standard.

This is my home. It is where my wife, Amanda, and I have chosen to live and raise our family. 

I love this community, and I know that I have the experience, passion and dedication to be the District Attorney that the people of Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties need.