The Governor’s Judicial Nominating Commission will begin interviews later this month with candidates for two open court posts in Cobb.
One position each is open in the Superior and State courts. The former was created through an expansion of the court by the General Assembly in 2020, while the latter — in the State Court’s criminal division — stems from the retirement of Judge David Darden.
The Judicial Nominating Commission is made up of 20 attorneys from around the state, two of whom — Lance Cooper and Darrell Sutton — are based in Marietta.
Vincent Russo, a co-chair of the commission who served as legal counsel for Gov. Brian Kemp’s 2018 campaign, said the commission will interview candidates on April 16 and then send a short list of around three finalists to the governor.
“The way we look at it, if we put three applicants before him that he couldn’t go wrong picking any of them, then we’ve done our job,” Russo said.
Currently, the State Court has 12 judges on its bench. The Superior Court bench will have 11 judges when the new position takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Leonard said he has not been involved in the application or review process.
“Cobb Superior Court is excited that the 11th Judgeship is funded in the Budget, and we’re eagerly awaiting the Governor’s selection while we prepare for the new judge’s arrival,” Superior Court Administrator Christopher Hansard said in an email.
Russo confirmed a list of candidates first published by the Fulton Daily Report last month is up to date. Among the finalists for the Superior Court spot is State Court Judge Henry Thompson. If selected, Thompson’s appointment would open another position for Kemp to fill on the State Court bench.
The full list of Superior Court candidates is as follows:
♦ Paul Arena-Camarillo
♦ Julie Adams Jacobs
♦ Janné McKamey
♦ Grady Moore
♦ Ashley Palmer
♦ Theresa Schiefer
♦ Judge Henry Thompson
♦ Mark Wortham
The State Court candidates, meanwhile, are:
♦ Joe Atkins
♦ Judge Eric Brewton, currently in the State Court’s traffic division
♦ Courtney Brubaker
♦ Owen Farist
♦ Austin Gills
♦ Katherine “Trena” Griffiths
♦ Luke Lantta
♦ Carlos Viela
♦ Jaret Usher
Palmer, Moore, McKamey, Jacobs and Wortham are under consideration for both seats, Russo said.