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Rife to challenge incumbent for state court judge seat
John Rife
John Rife

A local attorney will run as the only challenger to a county-level incumbent this year.

John Rife recently qualified to challenge Incumbent State Court Judge Leslie Abernathy-Maddox for her position. If elected, Rife said he wants to be committed to the citizens of the county.

“In business, we get paid to work a full week,” he said. “I’ve seen how court systems work, and I know one thing, and that’s the judge has to be committed working the 40 hours that the citizens in this county have paid them to do.”

Rife said he has practiced for about 27 years and has worked on both the prosecution and defense sides, along with being a judge in both Georgia and Arkansas.

“I’ve been able to learn from other judges how they do it and the innovations that they have to use to make the courtrooms and their larger numbers efficient and effective,” he said.

He said one thing he wants to tackle is getting people through the court system more quickly.

“Having been a practitioner for so long and representing people on both sides of the gate, the biggest complaint is, ‘why does it take so long for my case to get done?’” Rife said. “As fast as we’re growing, we have to be efficient and effective.”

Rife said he would also like to decrease the time for arraignments and have more court dates.

“I think what some people forget is people have to take off work, even when they have a traffic ticket,” he said. “It shouldn’t take half a day to do it. What that means, is the court system should try as best as they can to remember that those people coming in to pay tickets or anything else are their boss and they need to accommodate them.”

The non-partisan race for the seat will be on the ballot on May 22, the same date as primaries for the Republican and Democratic parties.

Rife said he is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, 8th and 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and Western and Western Districts of Arkansas. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and lives in east Forsyth.