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7/21/2012



Alan David Tucker

Age: 55

In Glynn County: 46 years

Occupation: Attorney

Relationship status: Married, three children

Education: Juris doctorate

Church or civic memberships: Southern Kingfish Association, L.L.C.; State Bar of Georgia; Glynn-Brunswick Bar Association; Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; St. Simons Boating & Fishing Club, Inc.

Achievements: BV rating in Martindale-Hubbell

What is the No. 1 issue facing the office you are seeking and how do you propose to resolve that issue?

The No. 1 issue facing the State Court of Glynn County is the current backlog of civil and criminal cases.

In 2011, there were 15,825 criminal and 466 civil cases filed in the State Court of Glynn County. As of June 15, there have been 6,633 criminal and 183 civil cases filed for 2012. There were a total of 2,429 civil cases and 2,070 criminal cases that were pending. There are 1,177 civil cases and 72 criminal cases that are over five years old. In addition, there are an additional 278 criminal cases which are open for various reasons, including bench warrants, pending dismissals, bond forfeiture, etc.

The sheer volume of criminal and civil cases that are filed in the State Court of Glynn County requires a full-time judge who is willing to work the 40 to 50 hours per week that are needed to effectively reduce the current backlog. The only way to resolve the backlog is to hold court every day. There is no justifiable reason for the state court courtroom to be unutilized several days each month.

I will also consider the need of having court at night in order to make a conscious effort to reduce the current backlog and keep up with the new civil and criminal cases filed with the clerk's office every day.

I pledge to be a full-time State Court judge.

What makes you the best qualified candidate for office?

I am a graduate of Glynn Academy in 1974, Oral Roberts University in 1978 and the University of Georgia School of Law in 1981.

Since 1981, I have been in private practice as a trial lawyer who has handled thousands of criminal and civil cases. I am admitted to practice in the (U.S.) Supreme Court...the 5th and 11th Circuit Courts of Appeal, the Southern, Middle and Northern Georgia District Courts, the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Court of Appeals of Georgia, the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Claims and all of the trial and probate courts in Georgia.

I have practiced in front of dozens of judges. Based upon these experiences, I know what it takes to treat everyone who comes into court with dignity, fairness and justice.

Bart G. Altman

Age: 44

Residence: Brunswick  

In Glynn County: 44 years

Occupation: Attorney

Relationship status: Married, two children

Education: Bachelor's degree in business, Valdosta State University; juris doctorate, John Marshall School of Law

Church and civic memberships: St. Williams Catholic Church; volunteer football and baseball coach Glynn County Parks and Recreation Department

Achievements: Assistant district attorney, Brunswick Judicial Circuit (1996-1998); assistant public defender, Glynn County (1998-2000); judge pro tem, Brunswick  Municipal Court (2011 to present)  

SNbSWhat is the No. 1 issue facing the office you are seeking and how do you propose to resolve that issue?

The most pressing issue facing the Glynn County State Court is the backlog of cases currently pending before the court.

The number of cases filed in the State Court has increased dramatically over the past decade and with the recent changes in the Georgia Criminal Code, even more  cases will fall under the jurisdiction of this court.

The best way to deal with the increase in the case load is to employ a multi-pronged attack to allow the court to process  cases as quickly and as  efficiently  as possible. To  alleviate the increasing number of criminal cases, I would encourage the  implementation of  a Fast Track program similar to  what is being used by the district attorney's office  in Glynn County  Superior Court.

This  Fast Track  program  would allow  defendants being held in the Glynn County  Detention Center the opportunity to  consider a negotiated  plea to resolve their case  as quickly as possible. This  would also help  resolve  the  issue of jail overcrowding and reduce  the cost of housing  inmates to the taxpayers. I would also work with the solicitor's office  to  develop a structured Pretrial Diversion Program to deal with first-time offenders in certain cases.

To reduce the  number of pending civil cases in the State Court I would immediately increase the number of available trial dates on the civil  calender. I would also encourage parties to seek a resolution to their issues by mediation, if possible.

 

What makes you the best qualified candidate for office?

As a life-long resident of Glynn County, I know that my familiarity with the issues facing our community will allow me to relate to the citizens that come before me on a daily basis. I believe that my experience as both a former assistant  district attorney and public defender make me uniquely qualified for the position of judge of Glynn County State Court.

I am the only  candidate in this race that  personally understands the awesome responsibility that comes with these  positions. I also  feel that  the training I have received  as the judge  for the Municipal Court of the city of Brunswick  will allow me  to transition  quickly and  effectively  to the bench in state court.                    

Grant C. Buckley

Age: 50

Residence: St. Simons Island

In Glynn County: 10 years

Occupation: Attorney

Relationship status: Single

Veteran: Georgia Air National Guard; U.S. Air Force

Education: BS industrial management, Georgia Tech, 1984; juris doctorate, University of Georgia School of Law, 2002

Church or civic memberships: Christ Church Episcopal; Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce; Glynn County Bar Association; Georgia Bar Association; Florida Bar Association



What is the No. 1 issue facing the office you are seeking and how do you propose to resolve that issue?

The No. 1 issue facing the incoming judge of the State Court of Glynn County is the current backlog of cases waiting to be tried.

Numerous concerned citizens and local attorneys have complained to me about their inability to obtain trial dates to move their cases along.

Despite the complaints, I think the current judge, solicitor, and clerk of court are doing a good job and have a well-oiled machine in place for processing the thousands of cases filed in Glynn State Court (approximately 15,000 criminal cases filed in 2011). Yet, as with any organization, there is always room for improvement.

The backlog issue is one such area, but I think it is manageable. In consultation with the clerk and solicitor, I would schedule more trial dates and hold court Monday through Friday, mornings and afternoons. This should result in a significant reduction of the backlog.

In addition, I would order mediation for all pending and future civil cases. I know from experience that many cases settle at mediation, thereby saving the parties money and preserving precious judicial resources. If a case does not settle, then we can schedule a trial.

Though I recognize that criminal cases in state court far outnumber civil cases, our citizens with civil disputes nonetheless deserve the fastest closure possible.

Finally, I would welcome ideas from the clerk, solicitor, defense bar and other stakeholders on backlog reduction.

I am open-minded when it comes to crafting solutions to problems.



What makes you the best qualified candidate for office?

My experience, both in business and law, makes me the most qualified candidate for judge of State Court of Glynn County.

Within the legal field, I worked for a year as a prosecutor in Glynn State Court and Brunswick Municipal Court. For the last nine years, I've represented Fortune 500 companies in complex civil suits throughout the Southeast.

I'm admitted to practice law in both Florida and Georgia.

My business experience includes five years with the world's largest carpet manufacturer and 10 years in economic development, recruiting industry for Georgia.

Further, I served in the military for four years with the Georgia Air National Guard.

These experiences, along with my legal experiences, provide a unique and balanced background for approaching the office of judge.

Equally important, however, is judicial temperament. I'm  deliberate  and  measured. I listen before I speak, I don't jump to conclusions and I treat all parties with respect.

Wallace E. Harrell III

Age: 54

Residence: St. Simons Island

In Glynn County: 54 years

Occupation: Attorney

Relationship status: Married, two children

Education: juris doctorate

Church or civic memberships: Vestry at Christ Church Frederica; Brunswick Judicial Circuit ADR Committee

Achievements: Named Georgia Super Lawyer by Atlanta Magazine on multiple occasions

What is the No. 1 issue facing the office you are seeking and how do you propose to resolve that issue?

I promise to be fair and to work diligently to ensure prompt resolution of cases. I have served on the Brunswick Judicial Circuit's Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, which wrote the rules for the new mandatory mediation in some of our courts.

As judge, I will work to see that mandatory mediation is brought to the State Court of Glynn County for appropriate cases. This would ease docket congestion.

What makes you the best qualified candidate for office?

I am uniquely qualified in that I am a native son of Glynn County, and I have lived here all of my life. I graduated from Glynn Academy in 1975. I received my undergraduate degree from Mercer University in 1979. I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1985. I was sworn in as a member of the State Bar of Georgia by Judge A. Blenn Taylor Jr. in 1985. For 27 years I have practiced general trial law in all courts in our area.

Vince Sowerby

Age: 51

Residence: St. Simons Island

In Glynn County: 26 years

Occupation: Attorney

Relationship status: Married, three children  

Education: Juris doctorate, University of Georgia School of Law

 

What is the No. 1 issue facing the office you are seeking and how do you propose to resolve that issue?

Under-utilization is the single most important issue facing the State Court of Glynn County.

The State Court exists for only one reason -- to relieve pressure on Superior Court judges so they can spend more time on the matters that keep them the busiest (family law cases, felonies, death penalty cases and emergencies).

The State Court has the capacity to process a much larger number of civil cases than it has in the past. Once civil trial lawyers know that they will get a trial faster in State Court than in Superior Court, they will file their cases there and thus will the State Court fulfill its primary function of taking some of the caseload off the Superior Court.

There is a serious backlog of cases, both civil and criminal, but that problem is easily solved. It is the judge's responsibility to move the cases without playing political or social favorites and without sacrificing due process of law, dignity and respect for every person who comes before the court.

No one is above the law.

The judge must schedule enough cases so the courtroom is being used all day, every day. He should give the solicitor greater discretion with pre-trial diversion programs, encourage mediation and assist the clerk of court with the installation of an electronic filing system.

If elected, I promise to make our State Court shine, to make it a place where rights are held sacred and where each individual has confidence in a fair and impartial judge.

 

What makes you the best qualified candidate for office?

My past experiences, education and attitude make me the best qualified candidate.

A judge is a public servant charged not only with the duty of protecting the rights of individuals from intrusion or erosion by the government, but also to foster the public's trust in our judicial system. I chose Glynn County as my home 26 years ago and have watched it transform itself from a sleepy network of good old boys to a dynamic center of growth, with a diversified population, looking toward the future, trying to convince the rest of the world that it is ready for the big time.

We need a judge that can keep up with that image, and I am the perfect candidate to inspire the same trust and confidence in our State Court that the late Anthony A. Alaimo inspired in our local federal court.

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