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Bryant sworn in as Newton County associate Probate, Magistrate judge
Destiny Bryant - photo by Submitted Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. — Former district attorney candidate and assistant DA Destiny Bryant was sworn in as Newton County Associate Probate and Magistrate judge Friday. 

Probate Judge Melanie Bell appointed Bryant and swore her in during a ceremony at the Judge Horace Johnson Jr. Judicial Center in Covington.

“Through her time in DeKalb County, her return here, and even into Henry County, I know she, as a professional and as a person, will embody all of those characteristics that a judge should embody,” Bell said in a video posted on the county government’s website.

Bryant, a Covington resident, earned degrees from Xavier University in Ohio and from the William & Mary Law School in Virginia.

She worked as an assistant district attorney in the Newton County District Attorney’s Office from 2013 to 2015 before moving to the same position in the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office from 2015 to 2019.

She then returned to the Newton County DA’s office as a senior assistant district attorney beginning in August 2019.

Bryant was the 2020 Democratic Party nominee for Alcovy Judicial Circuit district attorney but lost in the November General Election to Randy McGinley.

Former Associate Probate Judge Candice Branche was appointed as judge of Newton County Juvenile Court in late December.

Unless a jury trial is requested, Bell hears certain misdemeanors, traffic cases, and violations of state game and fish laws, according to information from the Alcovy Judicial Circuit website.

She and her staff also administer oaths of office, issue marriage licenses and weapons carry licenses, and provide certified copies of birth and death certificates. 

The Newton County Magistrate Court's jurisdiction covers issuance of criminal arrest warrants; civil claims up to $15,000; dispossessories (landlord/tenant); garnishments; foreclosures; commitment hearings; prosecution of misdemeanor deposit account fraud (bad checks); and prosecution of county ordinance violations, the website stated.

Georgia Probate Courts exercise exclusive, original jurisdiction in the probate of wills, administration of estates, appointment of guardians and conservators — minor and adult — and involuntary commitment, according to information from the website.

Newton County’s Probate Court also has concurrent jurisdiction with superior courts in proceedings regarding motions for DNA testing; declaratory judgments; approval of settlement agreements; and a variety of matters involving wills and estates.

Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center
The Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center - photo by Courtesy of Newton County