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Barwick, Robertson facing off for Fulton judicial seat
by Everett Catts
June 25, 2014 10:59 AM | 1427 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jane Barwick
Jane Barwick
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Shelitha R. Robertson
Shelitha R. Robertson
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Following the May 20 primary election, Jane Barwick and Shelitha R. Robertson still remain in the battle for the Fulton County Superior Court judge seat being vacated by retiring Judge Cynthia Wright. The nonpartisan candidates will square off in the July 22 primary runoff election.

Barwick nearly won the primary outright with 49.7 percent of the vote, followed by Robertson, 31.6 percent, and Shondeana Crews-Morris, 18.7 percent. Crews-Morris said last week she has not yet decided who she will endorse in the runoff.

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.”

Barwick said she has been endorsed by several politicians in the county, both Republicans and Democrats. She said the key to victory in the runoff will be reaching as many voters as possible.

“We started working immediately the morning after the primary not only on encouraging our existing supporters and thanking them, but also on reaching out to voters all over the county, from Fairburn to Milton, for support in the runoff,” she said. “Fulton County is big, and we have been working hard and have taken nothing for granted.”

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 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 Georgia 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: Shelitha R. Robertson, 52

o Occupation: attorney

o 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

Campaign website: www.electsrobertson.com
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