COVINGTON, Ga. - Probate Judge and Chief Magistrate Melanie M. Bell has selected Candice Branche to serve as the Associate Probate Judge and Full-Time Magistrate Judge for Newton County.
"Earlier this year, the judges of the Superior Court unanimously voted that in order for both courts to carry out their statutory obligations, it was necessary to add a judge that would serve as associate judge of the Probate Court and full-time magistrate," according to a news release. "The Board of Commissioners approved funding for the position in June when they approved the FY 2020 budget."
Branche currently serves as a deputy chief assistant district attorney in Newton County, where she has worked form the last nine years.
"Her diverse legal experience and her work experience prior to law school make her uniquely qualified for the breadth of matters covered by the two courts," according to the release from Bell's office.
Branche received her bachelor's degree in psychology and her masters in education in community counseling from the University of Georgia. Prior to her legal career, she worked 10 years in private psychiatric hospitals as a clinical director and director of utilization review. During that time, she also supervised more than 20 master-level clinicians as director of needs assessments and created the first tri-county mobile assessment team for Charleston, Dorchester and Berkley Counties in South Carolina. She subsequently operated a daycare for seven years, which specialized working with children from underprivileged households.
Branche graduated from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in 2010 and has worked for the DA's office since passing the bar. She currently serves as the prosecutor for juvenile court and the adult felony drug court, while also trying serious felony cases in Superior Court. Branche also serves as a mentor to new attorneys for the State Bar of Georgia.
Branche has lived in Newton County for 15 years and is the mother of two, Lexie and Lindsey.
She will be sworn in to her new position at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 at the Judicial Center.