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Woodard is named as Hall’s solicitor

POSTED: December 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Stephanie Woodard

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Gainesville attorney Stephanie Woodard, a defense lawyer, advocate for recovering addicts and former prosecutor, was appointed Tuesday as Hall County’s solicitor-general.

Woodard won the key courthouse post over four other candidates, including Interim Solicitor-General Jennifer Scalia.

Woodard was told of the decision by Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office Tuesday morning and could take the oath of office as soon as next week.

"I am incredibly honored to have been selected by Gov. Perdue," Woodard said. "I am very conscious that I have tremendous shoes to fill. (Former Solicitor-General) Larry Baldwin was my definition of a true public servant in that position."

Woodard takes the job to serve out Baldwin’s unexpired term after he was named to a new state court judgeship earlier this year. An election for a full four-year term will take place in 2010.

The solicitor-general is an elected official who prosecutes most of Hall County’s misdemeanor criminal violations in state court. Last year, the 16-person office prosecuted 8,242 criminal cases and was responsible for more than 17,000 traffic citations. Besides Woodard and Scalia, Michelle Rohan, William Hollingsworth and Inez Grant interviewed for the job.

Woodard said she applied for the job because she wanted to serve Hall County, where she moved four years ago after setting up a law practice in Gainesville in 2003. Woodard leads the board of directors for Friends of Recovery, a nonprofit group that provides support for participants in Hall County’s drug, DUI, mental health and family treatment courts.

"We love the spirit of the community, and I have enjoyed serving Hall County in different capacities," Woodard said. "We were committed to staying here and serving here, and I decided I wanted to be part of the county government leadership."

Woodard said she will aim for fair and efficient administration of justice and noted that state court generates substantial revenues for the county.

"In the current (economic) crisis, I take that responsibility very seriously," Woodard said.

Woodard said she wants to continue the policies that Baldwin put in place.

"I hope to be as fair and accessible and approachable as Mr. Baldwin was," Woodard said. "I’m excited about stepping back into a prosecutorial role here in Hall County."

Prior to going into private practice in 2000, Woodard was a senior assistant district attorney for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office. She also has served as a prosecutor in the Carroll County District Attorney’s office and the DeKalb County Solicitor’s Office. She was admitted to the bar in 1996 following her graduation from Georgia State University College of Law.

Woodard said she plans to run for election in 2010 as a Republican.

Woodard, 42, lives in Gainesville with her husband of nine years, Tom, and their two children, Madelynn, 8, and David, 6.


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