Skip to main content
Press Release

Northern District of Georgia honors first graduate of Accountability, Treatment, and Leadership Court program

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA - The U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. District Court, the Federal Defender Program, Inc., and the U.S. Probation Office honored the first graduate of the Accountability, Treatment, and Leadership Court (ATL Court) program for the Northern District of Georgia.

“We are proud to work with our fellow stakeholders in the criminal justice system to offer the ATL Court as an alternative to incarceration program for our district,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan.  “Through intense supervision and treatment resources, the ATL Court enhances safety in our district by addressing the root causes of the participants’ previous criminal behavior and places them onto a path of crime-free, productive lives.”

“This program is the result of creative, resourceful, and justice-oriented lawyers and other officials. Our Court is grateful to all of them for their outstanding work,” said Timothy C. Batten, Sr., Chief U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia.

“The ATL Court’s first graduate faced a lengthy prison sentence and, in one year, she has turned her life completely around and earned a sentence of probation,” said Stephanie A. Kearns, Executive Director, Federal Defender Program, Inc. of the Northern District of Georgia.  “This shows exactly why the ATL Court is so effective and valuable to all of us, and why it should continue long into the future.”

“History has been made in the Northern District of Georgia,” said Donna M. High, Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the Northern District of Georgia.  “The ATL Court is a collaborative effort between several agencies, that requires a lot of time and commitment. The beauty of our collaboration is that it allows us to know more than we can know by ourselves, and when we do it correctly, everyone wins.” 

U.S. Attorney Buchanan delivered an address to the program's first graduate and the current class of participants in the program. U.S. Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas delivered remarks and presented the graduate with a diploma, recognizing her graduation from the program. Representatives of the Federal Defender Program, Inc. and the U.S. Probation Office also addressed the program participants.

Through treatment to address the substance use disorder, mental health condition, or other identified need driving participants' criminal conduct, through incentives to reinforce positive behavior, and through sanction alternatives, the ATL Court program provides an alternative to incarceration for federal defendants.

Participants in the program attend bi-monthly court sessions with members of the ATL Court team. The program provides a high level of supervision for its participants which lasts from 12 to 24 months. Successful completion of the program results in a non-custodial sentence, or a reduction of felony charges to a misdemeanor, or dismissal of the federal case.

Launched in 2022, the ATL Court program was created through a collaborative partnership of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the Federal Defender Program, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, and the U.S. Probation Office. Further description of the program is available at“atl-court”.  

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated October 11, 2023