Northern Circuit under consideration for fourth Superior Court judgeship

By Linton Johnson

State officials are considering the Northern Judicial Circuit for a fourth Superior Court judgeship, according to recent correspondence between the Administrative Office of the Courts and the circuit’s Chief Judge Thomas L. Hodges III.
Christopher Hansard, judicial services division director for the Administrative Office of the Courts, reported in a letter to Judge Hodges that a recent caseload analysis showed the circuit is qualified for an additional judgeship. The Northern Circuit, which includes Elbert, Franklin, Hart, Madison and Oglethorpe counties, will be discussed along with other circuits requesting judgeships at the June 29 meeting of the Standing Committee on Judicial Workload Assessment, Hansard said.
The Northern Circuit presently has three Superior Court judges, including Hodges, Judge Jeff Malcom and Judge Chris Phelps. Judge Hodges has announced his retirement effective July 31, after which Malcom will become chief judge. The Judicial Nominating Commission is presently screening candidates in advance of Gov. Nathan Deal’s appointment of a successor to Judge Hodges on the court.
Candidates pursuing that appointment include Daniel Graves of Elberton Federal Savings & Loan, Elbert County State Court Judge and Elberton City Attorney Steve Jenkins, solo attorney Chris NeSmith of Hartwell, Western Judicial Circuit staff attorney and Madison County resident Lauren Watson, Elbert County Attorney Bill Daughtry of Elberton, Northern Circuit Public Defender Harvey Wasserman of Royston and Atlanta-based attorney Wayne Bond.

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