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3 battling for Fulton County Superior Court judge seat
by Everett Catts
April 23, 2014 05:01 PM | 4679 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jane Barwick
Jane Barwick
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Shondeana Crews-Morris
Shondeana Crews-Morris
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Shelitha R. Robertson
Shelitha R. Robertson
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Jane Barwick, Shondeana Crews-Morris and Shelitha R. Robertson are battling for the Fulton County Superior Court judge seat being vacated by retiring Judge Cynthia Wright. The nonpartisan candidates will square off in the May 20 primary election.

Barwick, who is running for political office for the first time, serves as a Fulton County Magistrate Court judge, as judicial officer of the Fulton County Family Division and as an adjunct professor of law at the Emory University School of Law in DeKalb County.

“I am currently an appointed judge on the same court I hope to join as a result of this election,” said Barwick, who was appointed as magistrate judge by Wright in April 2012. “I have been serving on the magistrate bench, making hard choices and viewing firsthand the crowded calendars and dockets from the perspective of the bench. I am confident that I can use my experience to make a difference on this court.

“Fulton County deserves a court system that plays its role in ensuring that our community has the opportunity to grow, to attract and maintain business, and to provide our citizens with the confidence of safety. I want to see that the word ‘fairness’ has a root in what this court does — every day.”

Barwick said her experience sets her apart as a candidate.

“I am uniquely qualified because of my experience as a judge and my strong background as a trial lawyer in this same court,” she said. “I have seen the frustrations and difficulties from both sides of the bench, and I have not only worked long and hard developing solutions to employ, but I have had the benefit of trying those solutions out, refining the ones that work and don’t work, and planning the ones I will put to work on day one.”

Crews-Morris, who is running for public office for the first time, is a deputy district attorney with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. She is on unpaid leave of absence from her job while running for judge.

“I am running for office because I live, work, volunteer and rear my 4-year-old son in Fulton County,” she said. “I care about this community and I want Fulton County to continue to grow and to be the safest county in Georgia. I have dedicated my entire legal career to public service and now I want an opportunity to have a broader impact on our community.”

Crews-Morris said her experience, which includes supervising the county’s Crimes Against Women and Children Unit and the Public Integrity Unit, makes her stand out.

“Our legal system provides a forum to resolve legal disputes through a fair and just process with attention to equal access, impartiality, efficiency and safety,” she said. “Fulton County Court hears civil, criminal and domestic cases and has the power to dramatically change the lives of its citizens. A judge with nearly 20 years with more trial experience than any of the other candidates in this race is an ideal choice. I have handled nearly every type of case that would come before my court. My experience as a 17-year public servant dedicated to fair, balanced and equal justice is well-documented.”

Robertson, an attorney specializing in family, business and real estate law, is the only candidate who has run for political office before. She lost to Kelly Amanda Lee in the 2010 runoff election for retiring Judge Melvin Westmoreland’s seat on the Fulton Superior Court bench. A year earlier she was defeated by incumbent H. Lamar Willis in the Post 3 at-large Atlanta City Council election.

When asked why she is running for the judicial post, Robertson said, “Our justice system needs judges with the comprehensive experience that I bring to the bench. Often judges are elected or appointed who come from a limited experience and a myopic viewpoint. This fact coupled with my love and respect of the Constitution and my passion for serving the public, made running for this office attractive. Our judicial system needs judges who have a broad spectrum of experience in dealing with the myriad of cases that come before Superior Court judges. I am the only candidate in this race with that type of experience.”

Robertson said her experience makes her stand out as a candidate.

“As an attorney, I have handled more diverse cases than my opponents,” she said. “Moreover, my life experiences, and more specifically my experience as a police officer, a public defender and city attorney, combined with my experience in private practice has uniquely prepared me to handle the various cases that come before Superior Court judges. I have a proven track record of working with complex legal issues from various origins.”

Meet the candidates

o Name, age: Jane Barwick, 59

o Occupation: Fulton County Magistrate Court judge, judicial officer of the Fulton County Family Division, adjunct professor of law at Emory University School of Law

o Education: bachelor’s degree in social studies, Wesleyan University, 1976; juris doctor degree, University of Georgia School of Law, 1979; master of divinity degree, Columbia Theological Seminary, 2005

o Family: single

o Top three issues: Crowded calendars and dockets and the solutions to moving cases efficiently, fairly and competently; access to quality legal services and engaging the Bar to work to provide those services where possible; securing and maintaining the confidence of the community in its judiciary.

o Campaign website: www.janebarwick.com

o Name, age: Shondeana Crews-Morris, 43

o Occupation: deputy district attorney, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office

o Education: bachelor’s degree in journalism, University of Georgia, 1992; master’s degree in criminal justice, 1994, Albany State University; juris doctor degree, Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law, 1997

o Family: husband Joe Morris III, son Joe IV, 4

o Top three issues: public safety … so sentencing will be a key issue; ensuring that justice for everyone is effective, efficient, fair and legally sound; building stronger relationships between the court, the community, various agencies and others

o Campaign website: www.electcrewsmorris.com

o Name, age: Shelitha R. Robertson, 52

o Occupation: attorney

n Education: bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and business administration, Brenau College, 1987; juris doctor degree, Atlanta Law College, 1991

o Family: divorced; two adult daughters, Sabrina and Latessa

o Top three issues: effective case management, efficient case management, fairness and firmness

o Campaign website: www.electsrobertson.com
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