• District attorney, Northern Judicial Circuit
  • Clemson University, mathematical sciences, 1997
  • University of Alabama School of Law, 2003

“Fight Club” changed the course of Parks White’s life. Sitting in the dark theater in 1999, the 24-year-old insurance consultant was not feeling fulfilled.

Then came a scene in the movie between Brad Pitt’s anti-status quo character and one of his followers. Gun to his disciple’s head, he asks what the man really wanted from his life. Be a veterinarian, the man says. Pitt responds: “I’m going to check on you. If you aren’t back in school on the way to being a veterinarian, you are dead.”

White was, as some religious people might say, convicted.

“It occurred to me, is it going to take putting a gun to my head to change my life?” White says. A month later, White took the LSAT. Three years later, in 2003, he graduated from University of Alabama School of Law.

He applied to the Northern Circuit for a job and was offered an unpaid internship by his predecessor, Robert Lavender. Augusta Circuit District Attorney Danny Craig, now a superior court judge, hired him. He took to the role of assistant district attorney with passion.

“His career path has been exemplary,” says his then-colleague Ashley Wright, who replaced Craig as district attorney, of White’s early days as a prosecutor.

White was not worried about politics. He prosecuted a popular Columbia County commissioner on child molestation charges, earning no political chits in the process, Wright says.

In 2010, White put his prosecution career on hold and joined the Navy. He became a Judge Advocate General’s Corps officer and served in Iraq as a Special Forces unit liaison with the Iraqi judicial system. For his service, the Department of Defense awarded him the Meritorious Service medal.

White returned from Iraq, moved to Hartwell—the main office for the district attorney—and ran against the man who had not hired him for a paid position a decade earlier. White beat Lavender in the 2012 Republican primary and faced no Democratic opposition. Since then, the backlog of cases dropped by 30 percent. Conversely, prosecutions are increasing, says Northern Circuit Chief Judge John Bailey.

Bailey says White, as a relatively new district attorney, pursued charges against a likewise popular longtime probate judge, a figure who might have given other elected prosecutors pause for thought.

“He’s not afraid to take the tough cases,” Bailey says.

White asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate the probate judge “to avoid the appearance of political skirmishes between governmental agencies.”

There are five assistant district attorneys. Four are new, White says. The lawyers from the previous administration left for other jobs, he says.

White is fulfilled as a prosecutor for now, but that attitude might change.

“I’m not limiting my options. Attorney general seems like it would be pretty cool,” he says. “And I’m sure there will come a point where I will find the thought of the bench more appealing.”

As serious an image as White projects (he describes himself as a “merciless official” on LinkedIn) he wants to put out the word that he’s “Georgia’s most eligible bachelor.”

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