It’s official, Forsyth County will get a new Superior Court judge.
The decision was finalized last week as Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 356 into law to appoint a third judge to the Bell-Forsyth Circuit.
District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement that the measure is “an important step forward.”
“This additional judgeship is vital to the growth and success of our community and will relieve an unnecessary burden on matters such a temporary child support and resolution in domestic cases,” said Murphy, R-Cumming.
“Increasing our number of judges is the best way to move these cases forward, preventing further backlog and protecting families and children involved in domestic cases.”
Superior Court Administrator Dawn Childress said the new judge should have an immediate impact on the caseload for the county’s two judges, Jeffrey Bagley and David Dickinson.
“It will really help to alleviate the backlog in both civil and criminal cases that we have,” she said. “The caseload here is tremendous with the increase in population. And so now instead of just dividing the cases by two, we’ll be able to divide them by three.”
Deal will appoint the new judge, who will begin Jan. 1. The new judge’s term will run through Dec. 31, 2014, at which time he or she must be re-elected for a full, four-year term, to begin Jan. 1, 2015.
Bagley has previously said the county has been routinely using senior, or retired judges, for some time to help get through the dockets. He has also noted the county is not far off from needing a fourth judge.
District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming, said it was “rewarding to carry and pass SB 356 in the House.”
“With the state funding that we were able to get in the budget, we can now look forward to relieving some of the Superior Court backlog and delays next year that have been created because of such a huge case load in the fast growing Bell Forsyth Circuit,” he said.