Meet the Team
Meet the Team
Page Content Portlet
District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson is committed to the excellence of Gwinnett County, and her core values for prosecution are justice and fairness. She made a commitment to work with Gwinnett residents and stakeholders to bring positive progressive change. Paramount to her vision is the safety of Gwinnett, second chances, protecting victims, and keeping young people from entering the criminal system. She will also hold those who commit crimes accountable. Equity and fair justice are the hallmarks of her administration. It is her top priority to lead with restorative justice to decrease recidivism and reduce mass incarceration. D.A. Austin-Gatson is proud to be a history maker, as the first person of color and woman, to ever be elected to the District Attorney’s Office, Gwinnett Judicial Circuit and she hopes that this will inspire the next generation of young people.
D.A. Austin-Gatson has practiced law for thirty-two years in both criminal and civil matters. She started her legal career with the Attorney General’s Office of Georgia, then became a law firm associate. She continued in private practice in 1992, when she opened her law firm, Austin & Associates, and handled criminal, family, and civil rights employment cases. Prior to her election, she was Supervising Attorney in the Gwinnett County Solicitor’s Office where she managed records restrictions and oversaw twenty-five staff members.
D.A. Austin-Gatson graduated from Emory University, School of Law and received a Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University, School of Human Development. While in law school, she developed her sense of service through her internships with the Federal Trade Commission and Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. She is admitted to practice in all Georgia Superior and State Courts, Court of Appeals, and the Georgia Supreme Court. She is also admitted to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and Federal Courts in the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts. D.A. Austin-Gatson has served in multiple capacities as a volunteer. She worked with Berkmar Highschool student Young Litigators, the Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina, Hospice Care, Peru Mission Trip, and the Greater Eastside Chamber of Commerce feeding program and others. D.A. Austin-Gatson is the youngest of six siblings and family is most important to her. She has been a Gwinnett County resident for twenty-three years where she and her husband, Travis Gatson, raised three children and have two grandchildren. She enjoys reading and traveling and one of her fondest memories is of her trip to Maui.
Chief Assistant District Attorney:
Daryl E. Manns started in 2016 as Gwinnett Assistant District Attorney and is now Chief Assistant District Attorney and directly oversee the Drug and Gang Taskforce for the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit. He is second in command under the leadership of District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson. Formerly, he was Assistant District Attorney in the Houston County District Attorney’s office. He also worked in private practice handling civil and criminal cases.
Daryl is dedicated to increasing access to students of color to the legal profession. Since law school, he continues to coach high school mock trial teams and has mentored dozens of young people to motivate them into the legal field.
Daryl also served on the Executive Board of the Greater Atlanta Black Prosecutors Association.
Daryl is a proud graduate of Morehouse College and Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law. While in law school, he was the Student Bar Association President for the 2008-2009 term. He summered with the Houston County District Attorney’s office working primarily with cases in Juvenile Court where he further his passion for serving people in the criminal justice system. Daryl also had an opportunity to summer with the Allen County Public Defenders’ office representing indigent defendants.
For personal hobbies, Daryl enjoys reading about justice and politics and is a Star Wars fan but also likes Star Trek.
Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney:
Appointed as the Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney in September 2023, John Melvin returns to a role he is intimately familiar with. John has an extensive background in law enforcement and prosecution as well as being a published author, Adjunct Professor of Law, and graduate of the FBI-LEEDA program.
John Melvin is a native Georgian who grew up in DeKalb County before attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. When a brain aneurysm necessitated his departure from the academy, John return home and graduated from the University of Georgia.
After graduation, John attended Ohio Northern University where he served as Executive Director of the Law Review. Upon graduation in 1995, John worked with the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office where he served until 2005. For the next seven years, he served as a Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney in DeKalb County and ran the Public Integrity Unit. In 2013, John transitioned to Cobb County where he rose to Chief Assistant District Attorney and eventually Acting District Attorney. During this time, John tried numerous RICO trials, homicides, white collar, and gang cases.
After his time in Cobb, John served as Assistant Director and then Executive Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for four years. As second in command, he directed the operations and administration of more than 1000 agents, scientists, medical examiners, and staff.
He is the current author of Georgia Objections at Trial 2nd ed. (NITA, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2021) and has also been published in the John Marshall Law Journal - What are the Chances? A Response to Professor Milich’s View of 404(B),9 J. Marshall L.J. 40 (2015-16).
John is also an Adjunct Professor at John Marshall Law School where he teaches Trail Advocacy and White Collar Crime.
In 2020, Governor Kemp appointed John to serve on the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, an organization that financially and programmatically supports innovative programs and services to improve criminal justice and empower victims in the state.
Deputy Chief District Attorney:
Sabrina Nizam is a Georgia native who grew up in Gwinnett County and graduated from Gwinnett County Public Schools. After graduating from high school, Sabrina went on to Georgia State University where she obtained a degree in Political Science and then to the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, GA. After her graduation from Law School, Sabrina served as an Assistant Solicitor–General in DeKalb County prosecuting a range of misdemeanors before accepting a position as an Assistant District Attorney in Gwinnett County in 2004. Sabrina went on to serve as a Managing Attorney within the office and currently serves as a Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney.
She has been a felony prosecutor for over sixteen years, prosecuting a range of crimes including, drug trafficking, rapes, child crimes, domestic assaults and murders. She has routinely appeared on HLN, Tru TV, In Session, and Court TV as a guest commentator speaking on a variety of national criminal cases. She is also an instructor for local and state law enforcement, as well as other prosecutors in the State. Sabrina works extensively within the South Asian and local refugee communities educating individuals about the law and helping them navigate through the legal system. Sabrina is also fluent in three languages.
Deputy Chief District Attorney:
Wanda Vance is a life-long Gwinnett County resident who grew up in Lawrenceville and graduated from Central Gwinnett High School. After graduating from high school, Wanda attended the University of Georgia where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and a law degree. She started her prosecution career as an Assistant Solicitor in the Gwinnett County Solicitor’s Office in 2002 before joining the Hall County District Attorney’s Office in 2004. In Hall County, she worked on every type of felony case at every stage — from arrest to appeals, shoplifting to murder, and became the Chief Assistant District Attorney in 2013. During her tenure in Hall County, she was named Assistant District Attorney of the Year in 2015 by the District Attorneys’ Associate of Georgia. Because she believes that prosecution and law enforcement should work as a team to ensure fairness and justice, she has trained both police officers and prosecutors across the state. Prior to leaving Hall County, she also served on the board of Rape Response, where she worked to be a compassionate voice and advocate for victims of sexual assault whether they were women, men, or children. She was excited to return to her hometown in Gwinnett to prosecute in 2021.
After her years in Athens at the University of Georgia, Wanda settled in Gwinnett and raised her family here. Her two children are her favorite people on earth, along with the two family cats that keep her busy. When she’s not working or loving on her children, she likes to run and garden. She loves the diversity and opportunity Gwinnett has to offer and has been fortunate to grow up here and raise her family here.
Justice and Community Initiative Senior ADA:
Brenda Lopez Romero
Brenda Lopez Romero is Senior Assistant District Attorney for the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit handling special projects. Brenda was the first American Latina elected to the Georgia General Assembly where she sat on the Education, Retirement, and State Planning and Community Affairs committees. She has worked over 15 years in the education, legal and political advocacy of immigrants and low-income families. Formerly, she was a principal attorney handling removal defense and immigration and nationality matters. Brenda holds a law degree from Syracuse University with a National Security and Counterterrorism certificate and a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University in Political Science and Sociology.
While in law school, she was a clerk for Georgia Legal Services Program, American Civil Liberties Union, and an extern for Trial Judge Laura Galvan Salgado for the First District Court of Morelos in Mexico. Brenda has extensive involvement in community organizing and affiliations with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, and Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is also a member of Leadership Georgia, Leadership Atlanta, International Women’s Forum, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and Truman National Security Project. Brenda is also currently the Chairwoman of the Gwinnett Democratic Party. Additionally, she serves on board of directors for the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials and chairs its federal political action committee. Among her lengthy volunteerism, she is most proud of her work as a former G.E.D. instructor with the Marist School Adult Education Program
Justice and Community Initiative Senior ADA:
Herbert Adams, Jr., is a Senior Assistant District Attorney and Co-Director of the Justice and Community Initiative (JCI). The JCI operates the Conviction Integrity Unit and Sentence Review Unit while also spearheading various special projects. A former Assistant District Attorney in DeKalb County, Herbert has spent most of his career as a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer. He has tried about 100 criminal and civil cases to verdict, and litigated dozens of appeals. (Due to his vast courtroom experience, Herbert will be involved in some major trials.)
Herbert has been a traffic court judge and a part-time instructor at Clayton State University, teaching courses in criminal law, history and political science. He holds degrees from Georgia Tech, Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Harvard. During law school he spent a semester studying at Oxford University in England. He was the youngest person ever appointed to the board of trustees at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church, the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. As a boy, Herbert listened to King’s sermons. Like his late father, Herbert is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He and his wife, Francine, a college English professor, reside in Jonesboro and Atlanta.
Director of Community Outreach and Partnerships:
Terrell L. Patrick
Terrell L. Patrick is currently the Director of Community Outreach and Partnerships at the Gwinnett County Office of the District Attorney, a position he has held since May 2022. His unwavering commitment towards making a positive impact on at-risk youth has been a consistent theme throughout his career. Prior to assuming his current role, Terrell served as the Director of Youth and Family Services for the Mobile County District Attorney's Office and as the Coordinator for the Mobile County Coalition Against Bullying.
Terrell earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in Legal Studies, as well as a master’s degree in public administration with a specialization in Justice Administration, both from Troy University. His educational background equips him with a strong foundation in understanding the complexities of the justice system and its intersection with public administration.
In May 2023, Terrell completed the Gwinnett County LEAD Academy, further enhancing his knowledge and leadership skills in the realm of community engagement and public service. This accomplishment underscores his dedication to continuous learning and development.
Terrell's dedication and contributions to youth and community development were recognized when he was honored in the 40 under 40 class of 2021 by Mobile Bay Magazine. This prestigious recognition highlighted his exceptional efforts and commitment to empowering youth and making a positive impact in the communities he serves.
Passionate about empowering young individuals, Terrell is dedicated to helping them craft unique, dynamic life plans and providing the support they need to turn their aspirations into reality. He firmly believes in the potential of our youth to achieve greatness, and his work in community outreach reflects this belief. Terrell has played a pivotal role in developing numerous programs aimed at educating and informing the community about the District Attorney's Office and its mission. His contributions to the Gwinnett County community are invaluable as he works tirelessly to foster a brighter future for its residents through collaboration, engagement, and advocacy.
Victim Witness Director:
Currently, Ms. Khan is proud to be a part of beautiful change at Gwinnett County District Attorney’s office by serving as a Director of Victim Witness Program with determination to provide resources and opportunities to make Gwinnet communities Greater, peaceful, safe, and ideal place to live and raise families.
A graduate of Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Health Science, and a Master’s in Public Health from Mercer University.
Ms. Khan is a dedicated public health professional who has worked in various public-private sectors of health care. Ms. Khan serves as a patient advocate throughout metro Atlanta, frequently providing in-hospital translation services for Afghan, Indian, Pakistani and Bengali patients. She also developed and implemented a targeted exercise program that aided elderly dementia residents at the Savannah Plantation Assisted Living program. In addition, Ms. Khan served as a Chair of Public Health committee of NPU-J, city of Atlanta and a Co-Chair of Pink Panel of Georgia State University working tirelessly to formulate an intervention for communities to help in breast cancer screenings. Ms. Khan is also a member of ICART and helping global researchers to stay connected and continue to work on breast cancer. From 2016 to 2018 Ms. Khan served Community Health and Men’s Promotional Summit (CHAMPS) as an executive director. In 2020 she proudly served as an interim executive director of Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition (GPCC), and currently she is an active board member of GPCC. Ms. Khan is a Co-Chair of cancer survivorship work committee of Georgia CORE (GC3) and tirelessly maintaining the momentum for saving lives and spreading awareness, education and providing resources to the communities of the state of Georgia.
Ms. Khan is a single mother of three beautiful children, two boys and one girl, she lost her husband, her best friend, and an amazing partner to prostate cancer in 2015.
Assistant Victim Witness Director:
Beth Gorski has been employed with the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office since 2014. Assisting victims has always been Beth’s passion. She has supervised a domestic violence shelter at Child and Family Services and has served as the executive director of the Will County Child Advocacy Center, a coordinated response center in Illinois that provides hope, healing, and justice for children who have endured severe physical abuse, sexual abuse, and exposure to violence.
Beth has served on various boards — including Joliet Hospice — and has been a mentor to high school students. She was also a past member of Gwinnett Giving Girls, which assists new nonprofit programs with grants. She continues to serve her community by volunteering and collecting food for local shelters.
Beth was raised in a suburb of Chicago. She attended college in Colorado and moved to Gwinnett County in 2001. Beth met her husband in Hawaii, and they have 2 children.
Adam Gardner is a true Law Enforcement professional with nearly three decades of dedicated public service experience in Georgia. He currently serves as the Chief of the Investigations Division with the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office. Before coming to Gwinnett County, he was a Senior Homicide Investigator in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, Georgia. During his many years of public service, he has established a vast range of experience in nearly every aspect of the judicial system, including, Prison Guard on Georgia’s Death Row, Georgia State Patrol, Governors Executive Security Team, City of Morrow Georgia Police Department, and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office in Atlanta Ga, where he served as a Deputy Sheriff in Courthouse Security, Dignitary Protection, Jail Operations, Warrant and Civil Divisions, Sex Offender Unit, Family Violence Division, K-9 Bomb Unit and Recruiting Division.
Chief Gardner became a Certified Chief of Police in Georgia after graduating the Chief Executive Training Course hosted by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. He also completed the Supervisor and Executive Leadership Institute hosted by the FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association.
Chief Gardner is an active member and in good standing with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Gwinnett County Police Chiefs Association, the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association.
Assistant Chief Investigator:
Chris Ford became the Assistant Chief Investigator of the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office in January 2023. Chris started his career in the U.S. Navy. After completing his service, he joined law enforcement in 1993 with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office before coming to work with the Gwinnett County Police Department. At the police department, he was the lead detective in the computer forensics lab and served on the SWAT Team.
In 2016, he started working as a Computer Forensics Investigator in the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s office. Chris often testifies as an expert witness regarding firearms, use of force, and computer/digital forensics. Chris also assists local police agencies across the state with training and criminal investigations. He is certified as a POST police, Firearms, Defensive Tactics, and Use of Force instructor. Chris is a member of the IACIS (International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists), GALEFI (GA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors), and GTOA (Ga Tactical Officers Association).
Chris became a Certified Chief of Police in Georgia after graduating the Chief Executive Training Course hosted by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Ford is an active member and in good standing with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Gwinnett County Police Chiefs Association, the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council
Chris met his wife while in the Navy where they served together. He enjoys hiking and spending time with his family and his Yorkie (Maverick). Chris volunteers regularly in the church and conducts training to help church security teams.
Assistant Chief Investigator:
Andres "Andy" Rodriguez
Andres Rodriguez became Assistant Chief Investigator of the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office in February 2022.
Andres started his law enforcement career in 2005 with the Gainesville Police Department as a member of the 201st Class of the North East Georgia Police Academy. In Gainesville, he was part of the Uniform Division where he served as a patrol officer, a K-9 Decoy, a proud member of the Honor Guard, and was part of the Domestic Violence Response Unit. In late 2007, Andres transferred to the Gwinnett County Police Department as a member of the 73rd Police Academy. In Gwinnett, he served in the Uniform Division as a patrol officer and later moved to the Criminal Investigations Section, where he served as a detective in the General Crimes and Homicide-Assault Units. Andres has obtained more than 2,000 of specialized training and has earned several certifications from the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. He is currently a senior at Columbia Southern University and member of the Eta Chapter of Omega Nu Lambda. He is obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration.
Andres became a Certified Chief of Police in Georgia after graduating the Chief Executive Training Course hosted by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. He also completed the Supervisor and Executive Leadership Institute hosted by the FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association. Andres is an active member and in good standing with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Gwinnett County Police Chiefs Association, the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association.
Andres was born in Colombia, South America and moved to the United States in 1995. He enjoys educating the public and giving back to the community. Andres appears in several radio and TV podcasts and speaks to students at different high, middle, and elementary schools. He also attends various Hispanic events and teaches at the police academies. He is the first Latino to have served on the Executive Command Staff in this administration's office.
Andres is married and is the proud father of two boys.