I am honored to have the opportunity to seek the open position on the Superior Court bench for the Ogeechee Circuit (comprised of Effingham, Bulloch, Screven and Jenkins counties). I know the bar has been set very high by the retiring judge, John R. “Robbie” Turner. Judge Turner is the kind of judge I would hope to be, fair, balanced and dedicated to finding the right result.
As a child of a career Navy man and a devoted homemaker, I along with my five brothers and sisters had a meager beginning but lacked nothing. My father was and is my hero. I was raised in a blended family, but to see us together, one would never know that to be the case. My parents loved us unconditionally and as a result, my childhood was exceptional. From a young age, I visited Sylvania and the surrounding counties on holidays and during the summer.
After high school I went to Georgia Southern University. While I had to work to pay my way through college, I had a wonderful college experience. Hard work never hurt anyone as my dad used to say. My time at GSU was phenomenal and I was able to gain skills needed for my career as a lawyer and a business owner. As a college student I fell in love with the community and unified support it provided to GSU. I treasure the memories of football championships and the role model Erk Russell provided. I graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1991 with the courage to reach for my dreams. I attended the University of Memphis Law School knowing I would come home to South Georgia very soon.
After graduating law school in 1994, I was sworn in immediately as an Assistant District Attorney for the Ogeechee Circuit. There I prosecuted felony crimes, managed the Child Support Recovery Unit and handled juvenile court in all the counties of the circuit, including Effingham. I had the pleasure of working with the clerks of court, probation officers, judges, law enforcement agencies, and school officials in this county. I was impressed with the dedication of these individuals and with the community as a whole. When I entered private practice in 2000, it became my goal to have an office in Effingham County. In 2005, my office was opened in Springfield and I have been fortunate to assist local clients with their legal needs since then.
The vast majority of the Superior Court caseload is comprised of felony criminal offenses, divorce, child custody and child support matters. In order to be a good jurist, like Judge Turner, you need experience in all those areas. My practice has been concentrated in criminal defense work and domestic relations matters. Because I have been both a prosecutor and a seasoned private practitioner, I have the ability to bring a balanced prospective to each and every case. I represented the mothers and fathers in divorce. I have witnessed firsthand our United States Constitution come to life in my experience in handling death penalty cases. Again, I have prosecuted murder cases and I have defended some. I know each position comes with challenges and I pledge to use my experience to seek justice, follow the law, keep our community safe yet approach each case with humility and mercy.
I also believe that as a woman, I bring needed diversity to the bench. Our circuit has not had a female judge since 2000 when Faye Sanders Martin retired. I have devoted my legal career to the protection of children. Whether it is insulating a child from the conflict of divorce, protecting them from an abuser or intervening with a wayward child in hopes of changing their path, I want to make a difference in the life of any child. I strongly believe every child needs good parents who are willing to look beyond themselves and focus on the best interest of their child. I obtained my parent coordinator certification to help parents learn to communicate. I am a trained mediator so I will have the skills to perhaps limit the conflict for the families that come through Superior Court as a result of a divorce or child custody matter.
My simple pledge to the citizens of Effingham County is two-fold. I will work hard and I will listen. No matter what kind of dispute comes before the court, I will listen attentively to both sides. I will use my wide range of legal experience to view each case impartially and to eagerly seek a result that is fair and just. As a business owner in this community, I want to keep our homes, businesses and families safe at all times. I do believe in consequences for those who violate the law, but I will look to the family of each offender to see what they are willing to do to prevent their loved one from engaging in future criminal behavior.
I am humbled by the support I have received during this campaign. I am ready to serve and I believe I can best use my God given gifts in the position of Superior Court Judge. I encourage voters to inquire about me with court personnel, members of law enforcement and former clients. I would like to thank each and every citizen who has trusted me to assist them.