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Posted: November 29, 2012 11:30 p.m.

Social Circle picks new city judge

Social Circle has a new judge who is presiding over its court cases. Judge David Dickinson began serving as Social Circle's newly appointed municipal court judge on Nov. 21.

The former mayor of Monroe and litigation attorney was named to the position at a council meeting on Oct. 16 by the Municipal Court Judge Review Committee, a specially-formed committee consisting of council members David Keener and Angela Porter and former municipal court judge Jeff Foster, who announced he was stepping down as Social Circle's municipal court judge in August.

According to minutes from that meeting, Keener, chairman of the committee, presented the mayor and the council with four candidates chosen by the committee as applicants up for consideration for the open position.

Those candidates included Dickinson, Steven Hathorn, a Covington lawyer; Lori Duff, a Loganville lawyer; and Brad Brownlow, a Monroe lawyer. The four finalists were chosen from 10 applicants who were reviewed by the committee.

At the meeting, the candidates gave five minute presentations to the council describing why they were qualified for the position. Brownlow was unavailable to give a presentation at the meeting. The council then went into executive session to discuss their choices, and soon named Dickinson as their new judge.

Dickinson graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in 1985 and has been serving as an attorney ever since. He said he does trial work and tries cases all over Georgia. He also fills in as the judge pro-tem for the Walton County Juvenile Court. He said because the position is part time, he will continue to practice law.

When it comes to his working in Social Circle, Dickinson said his first court session was an enjoyable experience and he expects it to continue to be that way.

"One of the things that I'm really big on is the municipal courts are sort of what I call people's courts and [for] a lot of folks it's the only experience they'll ever have with the judicial system. And I tried to do things on an individual basis," he said.

"I don't practice assembly line justice sort of speak because every person's case is unique to them and I try to listen to everyone's story sort of speak and do what's right in every case."

He explained that he enjoyed the community of Social Circle and he feels like taking this position is a way for him to give back to the community.

"I just do it because I think I'm at a point in my career where it's time to give back to the community," he said.

"I love the community. I've got a lot of friends and connections in Social Circle and I'm doing this as a way of giving back."

Dickinson has lived in Monroe since 1981. He doesn't have plans right now to relocate to Social Circle. He and his wife Rita have been married for 35 years and have three adult daughters.

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