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Four New Judges Join Sandy Springs Municipal Court

The four judges were sworn in during the Sandy Springs City Council's June 3 meeting on Tuesday.

From left to right: Marcia Ernst, Joseph Buford, Sharon Dickson, Don Schaefer, Candiss Howard. Credit: city of Sandy Springs
From left to right: Marcia Ernst, Joseph Buford, Sharon Dickson, Don Schaefer, Candiss Howard. Credit: city of Sandy Springs

Sandy Springs has four new municipal court judges. 

The city swore in the new judges during its June 3 City Council meeting. The judges are: Joseph Buford, Sharon Dickson, Marcia Ernst and Candiss Howard. 

The appointments, introduced by Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, were also confirmed during the June 3 meeting. 

“These men and women are a diverse group of experienced attorneys, possessing the qualities we seek in such judicial positions," said Paul. "They are among the city and region’s most respected lawyers, and we are fortunate to have them on our bench."

The nominees were recommended from a panel of attorneys the mayor convened in January to review Sandy Springs' court system, including judicial appointments. Paul said the peer review concept is used in several states for judicial appointments. 

“Experienced attorneys know what characteristics good judges possess, and I knew the city could benefit from this process,” the mayor added. “Our court system is a good one, but conducting a top to bottom review of the system ensures that we benefit from best practices in all aspects of our city courts.”

The four judges will join Judge Donald Schaefer in presiding over the city’s municipal court. Paul commended outgoing judges James M. Anderson, III, Scott Carter and Larry Young, adding the men did a superb job for the city.

“I am a great believer in the concept of temporary public service where citizens serve for a specific time period, providing opportunities for others to serve and contribute," Paul stated. "I am also careful to retain continuity, keeping on board experienced individuals while creating openings for fresh, innovative ideas and solutions to our city’s challenges.”

Sandy Springs Municipal Court judges are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council. 

They serve four-year terms. Municipal Court handles traffic offenses (including DUI), local ordinance violations, conduct preliminary hearings, issue warrants and, in some instances, hear misdemeanor shoplifting and possession of marijuana cases.   

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