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Rockdale keeps court clerk, elects new judges

CONYERS -- Rockdale County residents voted to retain their current clerk of courts, but they voted in two new judges.

All of the winners are Democratic candidates -- incumbent Clerk of Courts Ruth Wilson and political newcomers Charles Mays for Rockdale County Probate Court judge and Phinia Aten for Rockdale chief Magistrate Court judge.Clerk of CourtsMost voters cast their ballots for Wilson for the clerk of Superior and State courts in Rockdale County.

She received 21,236 votes, or nearly 58 percent, compared to her opponent, Republican Holly Bowie, who received 15,507 votes, or about 42 percent, according to results on the Georgia Secretary of State's website. The results are unofficial and don't yet include provisional or military ballots.

Wilson, who was unavailable for comment as of press time Tuesday, is completing in her first four-year term in office. She came into office with a corporate background which included 25 years working for BellSouth and AT&T.

Wilson, in a previous Citizen article, said she modernized her office by establishing a website to provide information to prospective jurors and make it possible to pay court fees and fines online.

Bowie is a paralegal for DuBose, Massey, Bair and Evans, LLC and was director of Legal Affairs for Rockdale County, from 1999 until November 2009, when she began her current job.

The two have mainly discussed throughout the race the issue of the collection of passport fees by the clerk, who is allowed by law to retain the fees which amount to some $40,000 a year as personal income.

Wilson said in the spring that she would no longer keep any fees for herself and would donate one-third of the funds to the county's general fund, one-third to her office for year-end bonuses and one-third to local charitable organizations. Bowie said that 100 percent of the money should go to the operation of the office, no matter the law.Rockdale County Probate JudgeMays will take over the position as probate judge from longtime incumbent Republican Lillis Brown.

He received 19,035 votes, or nearly 52 percent, compared to Brown's 17,764 votes, or about 48 percent.

"I'm feeling great ... and excited," said Mays after receiving the tally Tuesday evening.

Mays is a Missouri native and moved to Rockdale County about 10 years ago. He has served on the board of Ceek to Fulfill, a local nonprofit agency. He has worked mainly in the retail and construction industries and has never practiced law; he earned a law degree in 1982 from Saint Louis University.

Brown has been in office since 1993, currently serving in her fifth term. Mays said he plans to talk with her about how to prepare for taking over the office in January.

"We want to try to make the transition as smooth as possible," Mays said.Rockdale Chief Magistrate JudgeMost residents also voted for Aten, who will take over for longtime incumbent Chief Magistrate Judge Clarence "Rudy" Horne, a Republican who has served as the chief for more than two decades.

Aten received 19,494 votes, or 52.97 percent, compared to Horne, who received 17,305 votes, or 47.03 percent.

Aten, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday, has worked 14 years as a practicing attorney. She earned a law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.

She was named an Outstanding Citizen by the Georgia Secretary of State and the 2011 recipient of the Luminary Leadership Business Award from the local chapter of the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women.

She is president of the New-Rock Legal Society and a member of several law associations.

Comments

red18 1 year, 11 months ago

Watch out Rockdale County the Crime rate is going to soar! I recommend every decent citizen in this county go out and purchase a gun to protect your homes.

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szbrown 1 year, 11 months ago

Ignorance over wisdom and common sense! Unbelievable!

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Jesse 1 year, 11 months ago

This is a sad day in Rockdale. Some of our elected officials represented the ENTIRE community and always did a good job. Because they were replaced due to the color of their skin, with unqualified candidates is a sign of the times in Rockdale. I guess now the tax payer base that keeps this county going will be moving, welcome to the new Lithonia.

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Elmo 1 year, 11 months ago

It will become revolving door justice, as fast as the police bring them in, they'll be back on the streets doing it all over again.

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Frustrated 1 year, 11 months ago

Aten will be looking out for "her people" to be sure they are treated right.

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livingart 1 year, 11 months ago

Well said Jesse - the need for honest/qualified people is no longer needed or wanted by voters in Rockdale and Newton. If you have a police record, steal, cheat and lie - you are welcome in county government......The people who pay taxes or are educated in their field, and are knowledgeable about their jobs/careers and certainly have integrity with class = are not welcome in government office.

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JayPee 1 year, 11 months ago

This is one of the reasons that some offices should be non-partisan. Do you really care if a judge, sheriff, coroner or clerk are Democrat or Republican? I think the results would have been different in these races if they were non-partisan.

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Frustrated 1 year, 11 months ago

Why do you think Ramsey would not sign off on the non partisan issue earlier in the year? He wanted his Democratic buddies to win based only on party affiliation. Bet if the request to make all judicial offices non partisan were to be brought up again he would agree now.

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kellygreen 1 year, 11 months ago

MEH....I want to know wHAT POLITICAL PARTY MY JUDGE FAVORS. THATS JUST COWARDICE.

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Frustrated 1 year, 11 months ago

if you will do a little research you will see all the judges and elected officials favored the non partisan election except Ramsey. He never explained why he didnt agree but I have my own ideas. Non partisan elections for judicial officers would be a good thing. You wouldnt have anyone beholding to any policital party like it is now. I dont want my judges owing anyone favorites because their political party helped them get elected.

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Sandals 1 year, 11 months ago

Voting with my feet this time. I won't pay for this county's express ride into a ghetto, and won't stick around to watch it. My tax money and I are moving to the north side of Atlanta. House will be up for sale within a week.

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Motohead 1 year, 11 months ago

Agreed. It's just nicer up there. Life's too short to live with this kind of crime and incompetent "leadership". We tried the best we could to save this place but it's time salvage what property value we have left and get out.

Trot out that ole' racism card like you always do, haters. I'm sure sure of you would cry racism if the vending machine took your change.

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BrentLuNae 1 year, 11 months ago

Best wishes in your endeavors but I doubt your house will sell that quick. While it is on the market, you best keep an eye on it, if it is vacant. If you decide to rent it out, please make sure you screen your tenants because they can get in there and not pay rent and it will be h*ll trying to get them out. Lastly, I hope you are not trying to move to the north side of Atlanta on a "Conyers" salary because you might not be accepted in their upscale world. Be mindful, those thugs do ride the train and produce a lot of crime at Lenox Mall and the surrounding areas.

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kellygreen 1 year, 11 months ago

But it is racism...what else could it be. You cant stand to live in a majority black area. but you fail to realize no matter where you run you cant stop progress and change. We live in a multinational country. So even when you do move eventually there will be people of color migrating to this new area like you once did. Thats life. just learn to cooperate and live with harmony and understanding instead of fear.

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Motohead 1 year, 11 months ago

You're right. I should just grin and bear it and be harmonious while my back door gets kicked in, trash gets thrown in my yard, cars get broken into, the schools decline, property declines, people get purses snatched walking out of T.J. Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory in broad daylight, etc. Now THAT's progress and change I can believe in. Sign me up for more of that.

I'm sorry for appearing racist because the above things are happening in my county and I'm merely commenting on it. My bad.

Riddle me this: can you name a majority black area of the country that is actually a GOOD, SAFE area, and is run by competent, black-dominated government that isn't filled with corruption and in-fighting? Don't make me laugh and say Lithonia.

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RKITAP 1 year, 11 months ago

Mount Airy, Philadelphia; CC Hills, Illinois; Baldwin Hills, California; Olympia Fields, Illinois, etc.

There are many affluent black communities. Speaking strictly from a historian aspect, Wealth and affluence is a relatively new attribute for African-Americans. With wealth and affluence, comes the perks of a more 'ideal' community. Since the 27% of blacks are poor in America, and the majority are lower- middle class, there is a considerable socio-economic gap between blacks and whites. A community cannot have ideal education, safety, and reduced crim ewthout the proper funding.That's a fact. So, with that being said, your argument is a bit short sighted and completely invalid.

Your community is changing. For the better or for the worst, that is completely up to you and voters. Adjusting to change and working with people with an open mind is how you uplift your community. Or you can leave. Electing incumbents that are not adjusting to changing climates is counterproductive. Dividing yourselves openly among ignorant racial lines is also counterproductive.

Don't assume the worst. Take an active hand in your community and see what your elected officials will do for you instead of ranting and complaining about it, backing your comments with outdated bigotry.

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82011 1 year, 11 months ago

Often wrong...but never in doubt.

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kris820 1 year, 11 months ago

Actually its not racism and its not about the skin color but about culture. It has been my experience that when you have a more liberal culture you also have more crime, less morals, more broken homes, less church involvement and more people dependent on the government to support them. That is the direction that this county is moving in. Progress and change tends to lead to this.

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DestinyInRockdale 1 year, 11 months ago

IGNORANCE!!! PURE IGNORANCE... None of this should be based on color or skin yet this is what it has become! SO SAD!!!

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Jesse 1 year, 11 months ago

Rockdale's elected officials no longer represent a multi cultural community, they were all voted in because they were African American. As far as partisan positions, I really don't think it has too much to do with that it seems more about skin color. It's so sad because many of us can't stand racism whether its black on white or vice versa. Where is the Republican Party in Rockdale County? I kept getting campaign materials from the democrats on my door, seeing signs with all of the democrats pictures, and even saw a billboard on I-20 but nothing from the Republicans.

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kellygreen 1 year, 11 months ago

Woah! Look whose pulling the race card now!!! To say these qualified men and women got elected just solely on the color of their skin is insulting! These people worked hard and sacrificed much to even be qualified to run. Not only that , it is insulting to the voters. This just shows your bitter hatred and sense of superiority over others who do not look like you.

It just so happened that this year most of the Democrats were of African decent. Im sure if there were more European decent people on the democratic ticket they would have also been elected. The point is Republicans have a bad reputation. So don't blame this on skin color.

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livingart 1 year, 11 months ago

You are SO wrong on so many levels. Go, yourself, and determine the qualifications and experience of each of the candidates - but be sure and read carefully because tunnel vision sometimes gets in the way.

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Frustrated 1 year, 11 months ago

Could be THAT hard to qualify. If it was, most of the candidates couldnt do it.

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EK_84 1 year, 11 months ago

I read an article a while back in the Citizen about the Georgia General Assembly proposing making all elected judge positions, including that of Probate Court and Magistrate Court as non-partisan. I agree with that propsal.

Lillis Brown did an excellent job during her 20 years as Probate Judge, and had an outstanding record with her years in the judicial system. Rudy Horne did an excellent job as Magistrate Court judge. I'm aware of Judge Sidney Nation retiring at the end of this year.

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