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Local lawyers get ready for Hall County State Court judge interviews

POSTED: July 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Four local lawyers are scheduled to interview with a search committee in Atlanta today for a new Hall County State Court judgeship.

Larry Baldwin, Tom Csider, Ann Shuler and William "Sonny" Sykes submitted applications to the Judicial Nominating Commission after being nominated for the post, which was approved this year by an act of the Georgia legislature.

Three other people who were nominated, Benjamin Bagwell, William Brownell and Walter Rucker, have withdrawn their names from consideration, commission officials said.

Members of the commission, a 20-member panel made up mostly of attorneys, will forward a "short list" to Gov. Sonny Perdue after the interviews are completed today. A public announcement of the finalists will be made, and the governor will make the appointment at a later date.

Hall County officials agreed to fund a third judgeship at an annual cost of $320,000 — including the judge’s $157,000 salary — after a study determined that Judges Charles Wynne and B.E. Roberts have the caseload of 3.7 judges.

State court judges hear misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic cases and civil suits. Their courts are arguably among the busiest in the county, bringing in $3.4 million in revenues from fines and fees last year. There were 8,242 criminal cases handled in state court last year.

The governor’s appointment would last through 2010, when the judge would stand for re-election by Hall County voters.

Two of the four applicants already have qualified to run this year for offices separate from the appointed post.

Sykes has qualified to run against Wynne in this November’s general election.

Baldwin is up for re-election this year as solicitor-general, the chief prosecutor of misdemeanors in state court.


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