Three judges remain in contention for the fifth Superior Court judgeship covering Hall and Dawson counties.
Hall County State Court Judge Larry Baldwin II, Dawson County Magistrate Court Judge Clint Bearden and Northeastern Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court Chief Judge Lindsay Burton were on the Judicial Nominating Commission’s shortlist sent Friday to Gov. Nathan Deal.
The commission, made up of lawyers and judges from across the state, gave the recommendations to Deal after interviewing seven candidates last week.
Deal signed House Bill 138 this year, creating the fifth seat. State Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, said the circuit qualified for a fifth judge due to the caseloads.
The governor’s appointment will have a term running Jan. 1 of next year through Dec. 31, 2020. After that, a nonpartisan election is held in 2020 for a four-year term.
Deal’s office will contact the candidates for interviews.
Seven people submitted applications to be the fifth judge, including Bearden, Baldwin and Burton: Michelle Hall, Shiv Sachdeva, Edward Hartness and William Akins were also interviewed by the nominating commission.
Burton previously worked in the district attorney’s office before being appointed in 2013 to the Juvenile Court bench.
Baldwin was elected as State Court Solicitor-General in 2004 before being appointed to the State Court bench in 2008.
Bearden is a native resident of Dawson County serving as a general practice attorney and the vice chairman of the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority.