Cobb’s 10 Superior Court judges are set to meet Wednesday to begin the search for a new chief magistrate court judge for the Cobb County Judicial Court.
The former holder of that seat, Joyette Holmes, was sworn in as Cobb’s district attorney at the start of the month.
Cobb Magistrate Court Clerk Tahnicia Phillips said Holmes, before leaving, tapped Magistrate Court Judge Kellie Hill to perform duties until a permanent replacement is named.
“Our interim chief magistrate is Judge Kellie Hill,” she said. “She is fulfilling the role until we are appointed a chief magistrate to serve the remainder of this term. In 2020, the incumbent will have to run and be elected as chief.”
Magistrate court has a number of responsibilities, including issuing arrest warrants and handling issues involving abandoned motor vehicles, bad checks, garnishments and small claims.
Former Cobb DA and current Court Administrator Tom Charron said the judges will first start narrowing down the list and are expected to come to a decision quickly.
“Certainly by the end of the month, I would think, and probably well before that, the judges will make a decision,” he said. “It could be as early as this week. A lot of these candidates are well-known to the judges, have appeared before the judges, so I think the process should move along pretty quickly.”
Charron said 13 people have thrown their name into the hat to be Holmes’ successor. Whoever the judges pick will serve out the rest of Holmes’ term, through 2020. The person who wins that election will be the first Cobb chief magistrate judge elected in a nonpartisan election.
In April, Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a bill sponsored by state Rep. John Carson, R-northeast Cobb, to change the position from partisan to nonpartisan. A companion bill also sponsored by Carson and signed into law by Kemp made the same change for Cobb’s chief probate judge.