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Hansford elected Roswell Municipal Court Judge
by James Swift
jswift@neighbornewspapers.com
July 24, 2014 01:54 PM | 1709 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Taking home about 60 percent of the votes in a runoff election held Tuesday, Brian Hansford defeated Melanie Ellwanger to become the city judge of Roswell.

“I would like to thank the Roswell voters for their confidence in me and for allowing me to continue to serve as their municipal court judge,” he said. “For those who may have supported another candidate, I will endeavor to earn your respect and trust during my tenure as your judge.”

The official announcement marked the end of 19 weeks of campaigning.

“I’ve had to put a lot of things on hold to engage in this campaign,” Hansford said. “I’m most looking forward to getting back to spending time with my family.”

An attorney for the Cumming firm Miles, Patterson, Hansford, Tallant, he has also served in the Alpharetta and Milton municipal courts. Prior to that, he was an assistant solicitor general in Forsyth County’s State Court and a public defender in Lumpkin County.

Hansford was born in Athens, Ga. in 1970. After serving as a paratrooper assigned to Fort Bragg’s XVIII Airborne Corps Command Headquarters, he graduated from North Georgia College and State University and the John Marshall Law School.

Today, he resides in Roswell where he has lived for 15 years. He and his wife Lauren have four boys.

Hansford has been one of two pro tem judges on the Roswell bench since Judge Maurice Hilliard retired last year.

He said he is looking forward to getting the court “rolling in a positive fashion.” Reducing municipal court spending, he said, was a top priority.

Hansford said he wants his pay as city judge to be commensurate to the court’s workload. “We’re currently in session two days a week,” he said. “The position receives a salary of $95,000 annually … the pay should be equivalent to the work that is performed.”

Hansford said the City is in the process of developing its own traffic violations bureau. “It’s a fancy term for a roster of cases that can be payable without having to come to court,” he said.

“What we plan to do is take a look at those other traffic violations bureaus from surrounding jurisdictions and find the ones we think are best, and then take the best of the best and put it together for Roswell.”

Hansford takes a different approach to “first appearance hearings.” By law, a first appearance hearing has to be performed within 48 hours of an unwarranted arrest and within 72 hours of a warranted arrest.

“Currently, we have our court dates set around making sure we meet those time requirements during the week,” he said. “If we don’t have anybody who needs to be seen, then I don’t go and do a hearing and charge the city.”

Since last August, Hansford said he has sought to streamline Roswell’s court calendars. He said the result were court sessions with a mixture of different cases which previously, would have been segregated to different days.

With an expanded criminal ordinance code, Hansford said the Roswell court is seeing cases that earlier went to Fulton County. “When I see those cases, I think it gives me an opportunity to get those folks some help if they need help,” he said. “Or to help get them off the streets, if the case justifies it.”

Hansford doesn’t expect the transition to official municipal court judge to be a drastic one.

“I expect the court’s business to go on as it has,” he said. “Whether or not the position in Roswell remains a full-time position is something that’s up to City Council members.”

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