Conyers attorney Earnelle Winfrey wanted to be a lawyer since she was little and wanted to be a judge well before law school. She recently announced she was taking a step towards that goal by entering the race for Rockdale County Superior Court judge in 2012.
This would be the first run at elected office for Winfrey, a partner with her husband Reginald in the Conyers-based firm Winfrey and Winfrey.
“It’s always been a career-long goal,” Winfrey told the News. “I was waiting for the right opportunity to come along.”
When she heard last year that Judge Sidney Nation would be retiring, she made the decision to run.
Winfrey has been practicing law for about 10 years, mostly in family law and civil litigation, in the Rockdale County Superior Court circuit.
She said her campaign would be based on fairness and efficiency. “My bedrock in my career has always been fairness. I’m not going to legislate from the bench. I’m not going to bring my own agenda, but apply the laws fairly to every case that comes before me,” she said.
She said she didn’t think the election would be a difficult one. “I think the overall job is challenging. I think I’m up for it. I think I’m up for the overall challenge of this election.”
She said her experience working with the court system has given her preparation for the role as judge. “I work closely with the clerks of court,” she said. “My personal knowledge of how things work in the courthouse will lend credence to my ability to do a good job.”
Winfrey said she was inspired by judges she had clerked for and worked with, such as
Henry County Superior Court Judge Arch McGarity and Fulton County State Court Judge Myra Dixon.
“I’ve aligned myself with relationships in the judiciary and continued to develop that passion for it,” she said.
As an attorney, she said she was attracted to litigation more than transactional work. “What I’ve found is people don’t know how to speak for themselves in this area. I wanted to be that spokesperson for folks that didn’t know how to represent themselves before courts.”
Winfrey, 40, grew up in Atlanta and DeKalb County, attended college at Clark Atlanta University, and received her law degree from John Marshall Law School in 2001 after having her second child. She and her husband Reginald moved to the area 10 years ago and have six children, ages 6 to 14, who attend Salem High School, Memorial Middle School, and Peeks Chapel Elementary School. They attend New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia.
She is a member of the Rockdale County Bar, the Georgia State Bar, the Salem High School Parent Teacher Student Association, and a volunteer member of the 2011 SPLOST Citizens’ Oversight committee.
For more information or to contact Winfrey, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.winfreyforjudge.com