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Posted: August 30, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Sen. Douglas recommends Strickland for 5th judgeship

All nominations for due by Sept. 8

As the state accepts nominations for a fifth Judge for the Alcovy Circuit, Sen. John Douglas (R- Social Circle) announced Friday that he is supporting Covington resident David Strickland for the position.

"I have known David since 1996 and found him to be a great leader in our community, a man of impeccable legal credentials, and a rising star in judicial circles," Douglas said in a press release. "I am confident that he will make an outstanding addition to the bench in these two counties."

Strickland has experience in many areas of law from his 20 years as a lawyer and his time as a municipal court judge for Covington and Porterdale.

Strickland said that municipal courts have limited jurisdiction and typically deal with misdemeanor cases, particularly those involving driving offenses, and with any violations of city ordinances. He said the position is part-time, and he’s worked for Covington for 13 years and for Porterdale for 12 years.

“I really enjoyed my work with the municipal court. I always thought at some point I’d enjoy working on a more full-time basis on a trial level court. I had thought about it in the past and then John called me, and I appreciate him thinking of me,” Strickland said.

In addition to his work as judge, Strickland is a partner with the law firm of Alexander, Royston, Hardman, Shinall & Strickland. He said he mainly works on local government cases, because he is the general counsel for the City of Oxford and the Newton County Water and Sewage Authority.

Previously, Strickland was a Special Assistant Attorney General representing the Newton County Department of Family and Children Services before the Newton County Juvenile Court. He said he enjoyed a lot of that work, which he called happy law, because he was often able to help families in adoption cases. He’s also worked on criminal cases in the past.

Strickland said he thinks his experience and temperament will help him if selected.

“I think it’s important that you understand the law and are willing to listen to attorneys argue the law, particularly portions of it that you may be less familiar with. Everything is fact specific and there’s so much detail in all things you hear in court. You have to be willing to acknowledge what you know and don’t know and be willing to be educated, as well as check their facts. I’ve always enjoyed doing that; it’s something I found rewarding,” Strickland said.

“You have to have the right temperament to be a judge. You have to be able to listen to people and make as honest and fair of a decision as you can. Then you deal with whatever comes up tomorrow; you let it and move on to the next trial or matter.”

Douglas said that the last judge appointed to the Alcovy Circuit was a Walton County resident, so by traditional rotation the next judge will be a Newton County resident. Ott said that the new judge will be housed in the Newton County Judicial center, because Newton County has a larger population and; therefore, the greater need for an on-site judge.

Any resident of Newton or Walton counties may nominate a fellow, eligible resident and members of the bar association may also nominate themselves. Candidates must be at least 30 years old, have been a citizen of Georgia for at least three years, and have practiced law for at least seven years. Names should be sent to Judicial Nominating Commission Chairman Michael Bowers by September 8. Residents can mail the names to 30 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. NW, Suite 700, Atlanta, GA, 30308, fax them to 1-866-547-3433 or e-mail them to bwatson@balch.com.

Once the JNC receives the nominations by Sept. 8, it will then send out questionnaires to the nominees, which must be completed by Sept. 28. Interviews will be held in Atlanta on Oct. 13, according to an Aug. 21 letter sent out by Bowers. After that point the JNC will choose up to five finalists to present to Perdue; no timetable has been set for the governor to make a decision.

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