23 attorneys nominated for two Superior Court judgeships in Chattahoochee circuit

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 7, 2013 

With the extended nomination period now closed, 23 attorneys have been nominated to fill the two Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Superior Court judgeships.

The nominating process was scheduled to close in September, but Gov. Nathan Deal prolonged it two weeks. Those nominated have until Oct. 24 to submit applications, and those who apply will be interviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission Nov. 4 in Atlanta.

The commission will create a short list that will be submitted to the governor.

Judge John Allen created one of the vacancies when he announced his retirement in August. The other judgeship — the seventh in the circuit — was created by the Georgia General Assembly. Allen is retiring at the end of the month and the new judgeship is not being funded by the state until Jan. 1.

Shortly after announcing his retirement, Allen wrote a memo to Deal asking the governor to consider racial and gender diversity in his judicial choices. When Allen, who is black, leaves the bench after two decades, the remaining five Superior Court judges will be white men. The six-county Chattahoochee Circuit is more than 40 percent black and 51 percent women, as Allen pointed out in his memo to Deal.

The 23-person pool for the two openings is diverse. There are 12 women and 11 men, 14 whites, eight blacks and one person of Indian decent.

More than a third of the nominees — eight lawyers — come out of the district attorney’s office. District Attorney Julia Slater and assistant district attorneys Alonza Whitaker, Wesley Lambertus, LaRae Dixon Moore, Sadhana Pandey Dailey, Jennifer Dunlap, Danielle Forte and Elijah Wayne Jernigan Jr. have been nominated.

Two sitting judges are on the list — Municipal Court Judge Steven Smith and State Court Judge Maureen Gottfried. The list also includes State Court Solicitor Ben Richardson.

Local attorneys Ronald Mullins, Carter Page Schondelmayer, Donna S. Hix, Mark Wortham, Rachelle Denise Hunter, Rebecca Crowley, Raymond E. Tillery, Peter Hoffmann, Cynthia Maisano, John Patrick Partin and Don Riddick have also been nominated. Former Atlanta administrative law judge Savannah Potter-Miller is on the list.

Mullins, Moore and Whitaker have previously been on short lists submitted to the governor.

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