Dawson County native Clint Bearden on Tuesday vowed to uphold the principles of justice and fairness in the law as the county's new part-time associate magistrate judge.
"It's very rewarding for me to be able to devote my time and some of the skills that God has blessed me with, in an opportunity to serve our community," he said.
He joins Chief Magistrate Lisa Thurmond and Associate Magistrate Tony Tarnacki as the court's recently approved part-time judge.
"I'm very honored to have been chosen by Judge Thurmond and Judge Tarnacki," he said.
Bearden, an associate with the Law Offices of David E. Ralston, earned his juris doctorate in 2008, the same year he was admitted to the Georgia Bar.
"Within my own legal practice, I've seen firsthand how important it is to have judges in the Magistrate Court that are able to ensure that all parties, a majority of whom are unrepresented by attorneys at that point in the legal process, are fully aware of the proceedings that are ongoing, the process involved and are understanding of why the law and facts may dictate that a certain result occurs," Bearden said. "The judges in the Dawson County courts have always done a great job with that, and I hope that I can add to that from my own professional and life experiences and observations."
Probate Court Judge Jennifer Burt administered the oath of office.
"I'm very excited to be part of a great judiciary in Dawson County and the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, Bearden said. "The Dawson County Magistrate Court has been a very proactive, forward-thinking court for many years now, similar to the Superior Court for our circuit, and I'm very much looking forward to being involved in helping to continue moving the court forward."
His wife Jamey Bearden held the Holy Bible as he vowed to "duly and faithfully perform all duties required...as Associate Magistrate of Dawson County."
"I'm very grateful for my family...most importantly my wife and my children for all their support. They tolerate a lot of late hours and long nights. I know they have always been supportive of me and my legal career," he said.
As an associate magistrate judge, Bearden will be responsible for handling first appearance hearings, sign law enforcement warrants and set bonds, among other duties, in accordance with state law. As the part-time judge, his hours will primarily consist of weekends.