David Blevins, of Dalton, was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former Conasauga Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Robert Adams. Blevins is seeking to hold on to that seat in the May 20 primary election. Georgia law states that if a judge retires or resigns within six months of an election, the unexpired term will be filled by appointment of the Governor.
Blevins is married to Sheri Blevins who is the Whitfield County Probate Court Judge. The two met in law school. Blevins received his law degree from the University of Georgia Law School.
At the time Blevins was appointed, he had his own practice.
The couple has three daughters, Elizabeth, Rebecca and Sarah.
Blevins said he has a wide variety of experience under his belt as an attorney such as bankruptcy, various criminal cases and several types of civil cases such as social security cases, tax liability, civil rights litigation, defective highway litigation and personal injury.
“I also began to develop an expertise in estate work,” Blevins said. “A will that we have drafted has never been broken.”
Blevins said he is seeking the position because he cares. He said it was a dificult soul search to apply for the appointment.
“I was 55 years old,” Blevins said. “I had about 20 more years of useful service somewhere and I wanted to invest my life somewhere to make it count. I have a passion for the law and I’ve had it ever since I walked into law school.
“What’s sets me off from my opponents,” Blevins said. “I have far more experience with the difficult cases that come before superior court. I am the only canddiate who has ever determined child custody in a divorce case, who has ever had to make the decision to sentence the defendant to life in prison. I take those decision very seriously. I spent my entire career in the crucible of hard cases as a lawyer standing with my clients in matters that would make or break them and now as a judge in decisions that will affect the lives of people and familie forever.”
Helton seeks Superior Judge post
Scott Helton wishes to step out of prosecuting cases and step up the bench for Superior Court. He and his wife, Betsy, have three children, Will, 12, Henry 10, and Ella, aged 8.
Helton graduated law school in 1994 then clerked in the Conasauga Judicial Circuit for Cheif Judge Coy Temples, Judge (Charles) Boyeet and Charles Panell.
Judge Jack Partain was then District Attorney and hired Helton in the office as a prosecutor.
“I’ve been making decisions about people’s lives since I have been an assistant district attorney,” Helton said. “The work that I do includes...deciding what the charges are going to be, deciding whether or not to charge people, deciding what we’re going to recommend in sentencing...a huge impact on the liberty of at least one individual, has a hug impact on the people that are involved in the case, the victim, victim’s families and a larger impact on the community as to whether or not that was justice, whether or not that was the appropriate thing to do or not. Sometimes depending on what the charges are we hold an incredible amount of power as far what sentence...”
Helton said he has been a servant of our community for over 18 years working to keep the community safe and try to make the right decisions about the people who live here.
“I would like to continue to do that,” Helton said. “Just in a different position. I also have a significant amount of trial experience and I think that would serve me well...”
Wilbanks seeking Judge seat
Jim Wilbanks has said he has known he wanted to be a superior court judge since fourth grade. His family has been settled in Murray County since at least the 1800s.
His parents live in Spring Place. Wilbanks graduated from Murray County High School and currently lives in Whitfield County.
His law degree is from the University of Georgia and he graduated there in 1984.
“I came home to practice law with another attorney in town, Mike Brown...eventually went out on my own.
“I was the public defender in Murray County...for about eight years, handled every type of criminal case that you can think of. I handled murder cases, everything you can think of, drug cases, to aggravated child molestation, burglaries, you name it, I handled it. My private practice has been a general criminal and civil litigation practice. I’ve had a lot of domestic cases, divorces, modifications of custody...personal injury, workman’s compensation cases, corporate...condemnations. I’ve done it and it was all with the goal of obtaining the experience and knowledge to be a superior court judge. I knew that I was going to be an attorney and judge in the fourth grade and so that’s what I’ve been working for.
Wilbanks serves a juvenile court judge for the circuit and is serving as Dalton Municipal Court Judge and is one of the judges that covers Varnell Municipal Court. He has sat for judges who call in the area, in probate court in Whitfield and Murray Counties as well as superior court.
“I am one of the original team members of the Consauga Drug Court,” Wilbanks said. “I was chosen by Judge Jack partain to sit on that...I’ve been involved in the court since then...and sit for him when needed...I have a very active mediation practice. I am a certified and registered mediator in the State of Georgia and have mediated over 1,000 cases.”
Wilbanks said he would work to make sure the calendars moved efficiently and properly.
“I think being a superior court judge is a calling,” Wilbanks said. “I think this is something that I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve got experience...we have all of these lesser courts and if you want to be a judge, why not come at it with experience...that’s how I was raised, you work for what you want, you gain the knowledge and experience that you need to obtain it.”
“One of the four judges should be vested in Murray County,” Wilbanks said.