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What’s next for juvenile judges after Lindsay Burton elected to Superior Court
Judge Lindsay Burton 2022
Judge Lindsay Burton

A new Juvenile Court judge will likely be appointed by mid June to replace Chief Juvenile Court Judge Lindsay Burton, who will be elected to a Superior Court judgeship.

Burton ran unopposed in the Tuesday election for the nonpartisan judgeship vacated by Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller, who announced earlier this year that he would not run again.

The application period will open from May 31 through June 2, and anyone interested can send a letter and resume by email to rbriscoe@hallcounty.org

The applications will be reviewed by the Superior Court judges, who will then conduct interviews and make their decision. The new Juvenile Court judge will start Jan. 1.

In addition to filling Burton’s position, the Hall and Dawson courts received American Rescue Plan funding in December to add a fourth Juvenile Court judgeship, an expansion already planned for 2024. Assistant Public Defender Matt Leipold was announced in March, and he will handle some civil Superior Court matters. 

Later this year, there will be a determination of how much of Leipold’s time will be split between Juvenile and Superior courts.

“We anticipate getting that (American Rescue Plan Act) funding from the state again in 2023, and part of those funds would again be used to have Judge Leipold hear Superior Court matters next year,” Court Administrator Jason Stephenson said.

Burton said Juvenile Court Judge Alison Toller has been appointed to become the next chief judge.

In preparation for her move to the Superior Court bench, Burton said she has been attending more of their weekly meetings and planning sessions for next year.

“(Judge Fuller) is trying a lot of cases, so that’s going to assist me next year,” Burton said. “He’s not leaving me much of a backlog in the criminal arena.”

 Burton is married to Hall County Sheriff’s Office 1st Lt. Bonner Burton, who is assigned to the jail. The Burtons have two sons.

Regarding any potential conflicts of interest, Burton said she has presided over delinquency matters in Juvenile Court that have involved the Sheriff’s Office and that she would recuse herself if her husband “had any involvement in a case.”

Burton started as a prosecutor in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office and was named the Chief Assistant District Attorney in 2009. Four years later, she was appointed to the Juvenile Court bench and became the court’s chief judge the following year.

“I’ve just really been blessed with the opportunities that have been presented in front of me,” Burton said.

Though she has enjoyed her time in Juvenile Court, Burton said she “jumped in with both feet” when the opportunity opened up in Superior Court.

“Being a Superior Court judge has been a goal of mine for a long time,” Burton said. “I sincerely enjoyed my work in the district attorney’s office in trying felony cases, and so I look forward to getting back to presiding over trial work with the district attorney’s office and the public defender’s office, who do a great job.”