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Three vie for contested Cobb County Superior Court judge seat
by Nicole Dow
April 16, 2014 11:51 AM | 5335 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ann Harris
Ann Harris
Juanita Stedman
Juanita Stedman
Nathan Wade
Nathan Wade
In the May 20 primary election, nonpartisan candidates Ann Harris, Juanita Stedman and Nathan Wade will face off in the race to win the Cobb County Superior Court judge seat being vacated by retiring Jim Bodiford.

Harris, a senior district attorney for the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, said it has been her sworn duty for the last 19 years to seek justice in the superior court.

“I have worked to protect our families and our neighborhoods from serious criminals who commit serious crimes, yet I also recognize the need for alternatives to prison for our non-violent offenders,” she said. “I am devoted to the rule of law, to respecting the rights of the accused and the victim and to treating all parties with fairness and integrity.”

Harris said she is the best choice for the race because she has practiced law in superior court longer than either of her opponents, handling more cases and trying more cases before a jury. She said she is the only judicial candidate endorsed by law enforcement.

Managing the superior court with fairness and efficiency are among Harris’ top priorities if elected as judge.

“Our legal system is premised on the rule of law and the search for truth, and I understand the importance of the presence of a judge to move a case forward to the just result,” she said.

Harris said her involvement with the Smyrna Optimist Club, the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club and the Cobb County mock trial organization serves as good experience toward her candidacy. Though she has not had any previous political experience, she has served as a volunteer for the George W. Bush presidential campaign and Debra Bernes’ campaign for the Georgia Court of Appeals judgeship. She also has been a past delegate to Republican conventions on the county, state and Fifth Congressional District levels.

Stedman pointed to her experience as a juvenile court judge for the past 13 years and an assisting superior court judge as reasons why she is running for this race.

 “It has been a privilege and honor to do both,” she said. “I have been a pioneer for treatment courts in the state of Georgia. Both the family drug court and the juvenile drug court that I started in Cobb County are seen as model courts. That is experience I believe makes me well qualified to serve Cobb County as a superior court judge.”

Stedman said her background makes her the best choice because there would be no learning curve for her to take on the role. She has also served on various courts accountability committees and the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, was a past chair of the Cobb Youth Leadership, was a Marietta City Board of Education member from 1990 to 1993 and is a member of Leadership Cobb Alumni, Leadership Georgia Alumni and the Cobb Justice Foundation.

Stedman said two of her top three issues facing the superior court are meeting both the growing costs of appointing public defenders to criminal defendants and the growing needs of citizens who cannot afford attorneys but have domestic or other civil litigation that needs to be heard by the court. Stedman’s other top issue is the collection of Drugs and Alcohol Treatment Education funds.

“The collection of DATE funds is down in Cobb County,” she said. “As the superior court continues to expand its treatment courts, the court needs to insure that all available DATE funds are collected.” 

Wade, an associate municipal court judge and attorney, said he is well qualified to serve as superior court judge and believes he is the best choice because of his experience.

“Having practiced in every area of the law that appears before the superior court bench, I will bring to the bench depth of experience,” he said. “I have served as a prosecutor, defense counsel and judge. I have represented clients in civil and domestic cases. My experience includes trials before the bench -- judge only -- and jury trials. Each time that I have presided over the citizens of Cobb County as an associate municipal court judge and as a pro hac [temporary] state court judge, I have demonstrated that I have the judicial temperament that a judge should possess. I am fully prepared to assume the responsibilities of presiding over citizens fairly and impartially as a superior court judge. It would be my great honor to be elected by the citizens of my home county, Cobb.”

Wade said he is also active in many community organizations and activities that provide exposure and opportunities to connect with people from different walks of life. His top three issues for the superior court include ensuring that all citizens receive fair and impartial treatment, making sure the courtroom is run efficiently and not legislating from the bench.

Meet the Candidates

Name, age: Ann Harris, 50

Occupation: senior assistant district attorney with the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office

Education: bachelor’s degree in finance, Auburn University, 1984; juris doctor degree, Vanderbilt University, 1994

Family: husband Jim

Campaign website:

Name, age: Juanita Stedman, 59

Occupation: Cobb County juvenile court judge

Education: bachelor’s degree in education, University of Georgia, 1976; master’s degree in education, Georgia State University, 1983; juris doctor degree, Georgia State University, 1988

Family: husband Hugh, two adult daughters: Emily Stedman, and Molly Stedman Metz

Campaign website:

Name, age: Nathan Wade, 41

Occupation: associate municipal court judge and attorney

Education: bachelor’s degree in political science and economics, Texas State University, 1995; juris doctor degree, John Marshall Law School, 1998

Family: wife Joycelyn, two children: Nathan III, 12, and Kaitlyn, 10

Campaign website:

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