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Leslie Abernathy-Maddox running for re-election as state court judge

An incumbent judge is seeking re-election for her current seat.

State Court Judge Leslie Abernathy-Maddox will face challenger John Rife for the seat she has held since 2013 in a non-partisan election on May 22.

“Forsyth County deserves a State Court Judge with a proven record of service,” Abernathy-Maddox said in a news release. “As our State Court Judge, I am proud to have led on innovative solutions that streamline the judicial process and make our courts more efficient.”

Abernathy-Maddox was the first female trial court judge to serve in Forsyth. She also served as Forsyth County Solicitor General from 1997 until being appointed to her current position by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2013.

At a recent Forsyth County Republican Party event, Abernathy-Maddox said she had made some changes to the local system.

“One of the innovations that I brought to the court system is I created a mental health program and report system. Our mental health court program is called the CARE Court,” she said. “In CARE Court, we assist those who have severe and persistent mental illness and have been charged with a crime.”

She also said at the event the court system supervises those in the program and only one person, out of a total of 30, was arrested after completing the program.

“I would like to continue to make that type of difference here in our county through our accountability courts,” Abernathy-Maddox said. “I believe those things are important. If we keep doing things the same way over and over again and expect a different response, we’re not getting anywhere.”

Abernathy-Maddox is married to Stephen Maddox and has five children. They are members of First Baptist Church of Cumming, where she teaches Sunday school.

She started the Forsyth County Domestic Violence Task Force and is currently chair of the annual Forsyth County Domestic Violence Forum. She has also served on the Board of the Children’s Center for Hope and Healing, Forsyth County CASA and Forsyth County’s Relay for Life.