Nine local attorneys' names were submitted by the Tuesday deadline to be considered for appointment by Gov. Nathan Deal to the state court judgeship vacancy created when Judge Neal Dettmering retired effective Jan. 1.
Dana McGuire with the Judicial Nominating Committee handing the nominations said those being considered for the appointment include current Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner, Wesley Woolverton with the Douglas County Public Defender's Office, former Douglas County District Attorney David McDade, former Douglas County Solicitor General Greg Barton, and attorneys Sandra Dawson, Corey Martin, Antoinette Thomas, James K. Luttrell and Olufunke B. Kosoko.
Dettmering's term was to expire at the end of 2018 and an election for the seat along with other races was set for this May. However, since Dettmering retired within six months of the May nonpartisan election, whoever Deal appoints will not have to run for the seat until 2020.
McGuire said that all nine candidates will interview with the Judicial Nominating Committee on Thursday, March 8 and that the committee "will make our recommendations no later than the next day." The committee typically recommends three of the candidates to the governor, who may choose one of the three recommended or choose someone else entirely.
McGuire said once the committee makes its recommendations, "the governor's offices handles the selection process from that point."
Dettmering, who retired effective Jan. 1, 2018, served 16 ½ years on the bench and was Douglas County's first state court judge.
Douglas County State Court handles misdemeanors like traffic tickets and misdemeanor drug offenses and oversees the misdemeanor DUI/Drug Court. Judge Eddie Barker was the second state court judge in Douglas County and becomes the senior state court judge with Dettmering's retirement.