Around Town: Time for another spin on Cobb’s judicial merry go round
by Bill Kinney & Joe Kirby
December 15, 2012 12:02 AM | 7293 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GEORGIA Attorney General Sam Olens will help interview applicants for an opening on the Cobb State Court bench on Tuesday. The state’s Judicial Nominating Committee plans to interview all 17 applicants that morning for the opening created when Gov. Nathan Deal promoted Judge Rob Leonard to Cobb Superior Court last month to fill the opening created by the retirement of George Kreeger. Deal also will make the final decision on the State Court appointment.

The Judicial Nominating Commission has named a five-person subcommittee to interview the applicants. Members in addition to Olens, who formerly chaired the Cobb Board of Commissioners, are Randy Evans of McKenna, Long & Aldridge, who co-chairs the JNC, Scott Delius of Atlanta, Georgia Power Co. attorney Tom Bishop, Robert James of the DeKalb District Attorney’s office and Ashley Wright of the Augusta D.A.’s office.

THE OPENING is on the State Court Division II bench, commonly known as traffic court.

Applicants for the judgeship are Van Pearlberg, retiring Cobb Magistrate Judge Joan Bloom, Henry Thompson, Jason Treadaway (who was “standby counsel” in the Waseem Daker murder trial this summer), Aurieanne Sneed, Jane Manning, Ann Harris, state Sen. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb), Marietta Municipal Court Associate Judge Larry Burke, Barbara Berger, Grady Moore, John Nichols, James Lutrell, Joyette Holmes, Maziar “Mazi” Mazloom, David Casey and Maria Sheffield.

The JNC will recommend up to five candidates to the governor for a final decision.

“It is a very, very strong list of applicants,” said a member of the JNC, who asked not to be identified. “These are the positions that are the most difficult. We have more extremely strong applicants than slots on the short list. Our target will be no more than three names. Thankfully we have several members of our Commission with a relationship to Cobb County, including our Attorney General.”

THREE COBB LAWYERS and the county’s new chief assistant district attorney were among the 16 finalists for the opening on the Georgia Court of Appeals that will be created by the pending retirement at year-end of Judge Harris Adams of Cobb, but did not make the final cut.

The 16 were interviewed by the JNC last week. The JNC then narrowed the field to three on Wednesday, none of whom are from Cobb. The governor is expected to make the final decision shortly, according to Evans.

The 16 included Mary Paige Adams of Green & Sapp of the Galleria area; Thomas D. Harper of Marietta, who specializes in personal injury litigation; and Cobb State Court Judge Kathryn Tanksley. New Cobb chief assistant Don Geary was also among the 16.

The nominating commission had received 75 nominations for the seat, but 42 withdrew from consideration or failed to submit applications. The 33 resulting candidates also included, from Cobb, solo practitioner James Luttrell of Smyrna.

GEARY’S HIRING by new Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds as chief assistant was reported this week.

Geary is Chief Assistant District Attorney in DeKalb County and has played a key role since November 2010 in the high-profile Dunwoody day care murder case.

Also heading to Cobb is DeKalb Deputy Chief Assistant D.A. John Melvin.

GEARY’S QUESTIONING of accused killer Andrea Sneiderman while on the witness stand in the murder trial of her alleged lover and accomplice, Hemy Neuman, reportedly unnerved her by establishing inconsistencies in her story regarding when and how she found out about the death of her husband, who was fatally shot outside the day care. Prosecutors say Sneiderman manipulated Neuman, her former boss, into killing her husband, Rusty Sneiderman, which she denies.

Geary is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Marine Reserves and flew in Operation Desert Storm. An adjunct professor at Emory Law School, he is married and has seven children. Geary also since 2011 has chaired the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission, which sanctions boxing and mixed-martial arts events and licenses fighters. He was appointed to that board in 2010 by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue.

EAST COBB “Godfather” Don Jenacova and his east Cobb “Disorganized Crime Family,” including “underboss” retired FBI agent Oliver Halle, held their annual pre-Christmas soiree at Panera Bread in east Cobb Wednesday morning and as usual, it was heavily populated by legal types, elected officials and media members.

Among the 100-plus attendees were Cobb Superior Court Judges Stephen Schuster and Jim Bodiford, incoming D.A. Vic Reynolds, East Cobb Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell, Cobb School Board Chairman Scott Sweeney, state Rep. Don Parsons (R-east Cobb), Cobb Tax Commissioner Gail Downing, Joan Bloom, former state Sen. Chuck Clay (R-Marietta), former Fulton County Commission chief of staff Josh Kenyon, AJC sports writer Steve Hummer and East Cobber publisher Cynthia Rozzo.

Also on hand were PTA and Cobb schools activist Karen Hallacy, former Cobb Commissioner Scott Chadwick, Metro Cobb YMCA Director Rebecca Shipley, federal prosecutor Randy Chartash (chief of the fraud and cybercrimes unit at the Atlanta office), former Clerk of Superior Court candidate John Skelton, former Cobb Commission Chair candidate (and retired Marine Col.) Mike Boyce, former Cobb judicial candidate Nathan Wade, Van Pearlberg, property management czaress Alice Summerour, financial consultant Bill Lockhart and public relations exec Victoria Turney.

IT’S NOT ONLY THE HOLIDAY SEASON, it’s also the swearing-in season, as newly elected public officials in Cobb take the oath of office to start their new terms.

* New District Attorney Vic Reynolds will be sworn in by Probate Judge Kelli Wolk in the ceremonial courtroom at the new Cobb Superior Court Building at 11 a.m. on Monday.

* New Juvenile Court Judge Jeff Hamby will be sworn in at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the ceremonial courtroom by Cobb Superior Court Judge Robert Flournoy III.

* Southeastern District Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott will be sworn in at 4 p.m. Wednesday by Cobb Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs in her courtroom.

* Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee will be sworn in by Georgia Supreme Court Justice P. Harris Hines of Marietta at 10 a.m. on Thursday in the Board of Commissioners Meeting Room.

* Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren will be sworn in at 9:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve by Cobb Superior Court Judge Jim Bodiford in the Muster Room of the county jail.

* And new Southwest Cobb Commissioner Lisa Cupid will be sworn in at 2 p.m. Jan. 4 in the second floor conference room at the Commission Building by Cobb Superior Court Judge Greg Poole.

WSB NEWS anchorwoman Jovita Moore will feature Marietta’s Root House Museum and Garden at 8 p.m. Wednesday on the show “Georgia’s Hidden Treasures.” She and a camera crew spent hours at the Root House on the weekend of the recent Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour, reports Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society spokeswoman Cathy Brown. The frame house originally stood on Church Street, then was moved in 1893 to a site on Lemon Street where it stood for nearly a century before moved to its present location on the North Marietta Loop and opened as a museum.

SICK BAY: Marietta author and book publisher Bob Babcock of Deeds Publishing is recovering from open-heart surgery to repair an aortic aneurism.

TOWERING 6-foot, 5-inch Marietta Mayor Steve “Thunder” Tumlin has never had a problem standing out in a crowd. These days, neither does his truck. Hizzoner has been on the receiving end of some good-natured ribbing lately thanks to the vanity plates on his F-150 pickup, which read, “MG Mayor.”

Tumlin might have gotten his inspiration from now-departed Marietta Redevelopment Corp. executive director Reggie Taylor. The vanity plates on Taylor’s silver Cadillac read, “Reg Tay 1.”

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