Lindsay Burton is as comfortable in a courtroom as anywhere, so it was only natural that she would meet her future husband there.
The chief assistant district attorney for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit was early into her career as a prosecutor when she called as a witness Bonner Burton, a Hall County Sheriff’s deputy who had been struck by a car by a criminal defendant. After the case was closed, he asked her out to lunch, and two years later they were married.
“Bonner said it was love at first sight for him,” Lindsay Burton recalled with a smile. “I was just a new prosecutor trying to do my best in a courtroom, and I noticed him later.”
Burton, 35, was recently given the chief assistant title by District Attorney Lee Darragh, who had not previously named a second in command since taking office in 2005.
“I wanted to serve the majority of my first term without a chief assistant to evaluate over the long term who might be best for the job,” said Darragh, who was appointed district attorney in 2005 and won election to a full four-year term in 2006. “It was a hard choice. I had a lot of excellent candidates.”
Darragh said he chose Burton as his chief advisor and “right hand woman” in trial and caseload management because “she is an excellent trial lawyer who has the respect of the district attorney’s staff, the judiciary and all the law enforcement agencies we have contact with. She has and will serve the crime victims of our community well.”
Burton is one of 15 attorneys who work for Darragh in Hall and Dawson counties.
Shortly after her admission to the state bar in the fall of 2000, she was hired by then-District Attorney Lydia Sartain. Burton went on to win Sartain’s “Workhorse of the Year” award three consecutive years for the most trial work among the office’s assistant district attorneys. Two weeks ago, Burton tried her 98th case in less than 10 years of prosecution work.
A native of Phoenixville, Pa., Burton grew up in Chester Springs, about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. She graduated from Penn State in 1997 and Villanova University School of Law in 2000. Two days after her law school graduation, prompted in part by family friends who lived in Roswell, she “packed up everything I could fit into my car and moved south.”
“I knew I was going to move after law school, I just wanted to pick a new area,” Burton said. “I was really eager to make a change and branch out on my own.”
Burton and her husband live in Hall County with their 2-year-old son, Grier, whom she looks forward to teaching the proper manners of all good Southern men.
“I think this is a great community to raise a family,” she said.
Now a veteran of the courtroom, Burton has prosecuted everything from forgery and drug cases to child molestations and murders.
Burton said presenting a case to a jury is “without a doubt, the best part of being a prosecutor.”
“There’s just nothing like giving a closing argument in a big case.”
The long hours, weeks and sometimes months of preparation are worth it for her when a victim thanks her for her advocacy.
“I just love my job,” she said. “I’m lucky to have it.”