Newton County District Attorney W. Kendall Wynne Jr. has been appointed the fifth judge for the Alcovy Circuit by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Wynne was notified of the appointment Tuesday afternoon.
"When I answered the phone and heard the voice on the other end tell me to hold for the governor I was definitely excited," said Wynne. "It was literally heart pounding excitement."
Wynne will serve through 2010 and will then have the opportunity to run and seek re-election in November. He will hear cases in both Newton and Walton counties but will be based in Newton County. According to Wynne he does not yet know when he will be sworn in and is unable to hear cases until that occurs.
A graduate of the University of Georgia and the University of Georgia School of Law, Wynne also received an LLM — Latin for Legum Magister — a Master of Laws advanced degree — from the Atlanta Law School. He began his career in 1987 with a small private law firm in Atlanta, where he says he learned a lot from the attorneys he worked with, and then moved to the position of Chief Assistant District Attorney in Newton County in 1990. In 2001 he became District Attorney for the Alcovy Circuit.
"I will definitely miss the day-to-day and the preparation of cases in the DAs office," said Wynne. "But that is made much easier by knowing that the staff in the DAs office will not miss a beat, particularly under the leadership of Layla Zon as acting DA."
By law, Zon – the Chief Assistant District Attorney – will serve as interim district attorney until the governor makes an appointment or an election is held. There are three years remaining of Wynne’s term, but a special election could be ordered prior to the term’s end by the governor.
Zon earned a Bachelor of Science Government from Liberty University, then attended Georgia State Law School. She became an Assistant District Attorney for the Alcovy Circuit in 2000 and was named Chief ADA in 2003. She is also the first female in Newton County to serve as District Attorney.
"Right now my focus is on continuing to serve the citizens of both Newton and Walton counties under Ken's leadership," said Zon. "I am happy for him and his family. I have the utmost respect for him personally and professionally. The citizens of both counties will be well served by this appointment. In the days to come I will be working with Ken and all members of both offices to ensure a smooth transition so that our offices may continue to serve in the same manner that we have under Ken's leadership."
As for his upcoming role as a judge, Wynne is excited.
"I think it will be interesting," he said. "It is certainly going to be a different role from that as an advocate, but in many ways it will be like being the district attorney because both positions are bound by their oath to uphold the law. In many ways there will be similarities."