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Candidates for state court judge narrowed to two
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Hall County Solicitor-General Larry Baldwin and Gainesville private practice attorney Ann Shuler are the finalists for a third Hall County State Court judgeship, the office of Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday.

They will interview with Perdue at a later date before the appointment is made by the governor.

State court judges hear misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases. A new judgeship was created by an act of the state legislature after a study determined that judges Charles Wynne and B.E. Roberts carried the case load of 3.7 judges.

The Hall County Commission has pledged to fund the annual $320,000 operating costs for the new post — including the judge’s $157,000 salary — with the understanding that the court will pay for itself through fines and fees collected. Last year Hall County State Court brought in $3.4 million to the general fund.

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

Tom Csider and Williams "Sonny" Sykes also interviewed for the job with members of the Judicial Nominating Commission. Sykes has qualified to run against Wynne in the November general election.

Local attorney Stephanie Woodard said that both Baldwin and Shuler were well-respected in the local bar — Baldwin for his criminal prosecution work and Shuler with her work trying civil cases.

"They’re both excellent choices, and it says something good about Hall County," Woodard said. "I’m very excited that we’ve got such excellent lawyers as finalists."

No interview date with the governor had been scheduled as of Tuesday.