Sams, Crawford picked as new Superior Court judges


Fayette County State Court Judge Fletcher Sams was named as one of two new Superior Court judges for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, which includes Fayette County.

The other pick from Gov. Sonny Perdue for a judgeship was Robert “Mack” Crawford, director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council.

Perdue also picked Sams’ replacement as Fayette County State Court judge: Carla Wong McMillian, who is currently a partner with the Atlanta law firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

Sams, 56, who lives in south Fayette County, has been Fayette County’s state court judge for over 13 years and also served one term as the top prosecutor for the entire circuit as district attorney.

Crawford, 56, of Concord, has no prior judicial experience and has not even represented clients in court for the past five years. He does, however, have political connections having served eight terms in the legislature before resigning in August 2007 to become director of the Public Defender Standards Council.

Crawford’s previous courtroom experience was limited to private law practice for 20 years in Zebulon, according to his application for the judgeship. During that time, Crawford represented clients in criminal and civil work with the latter involving divorce, child custody, contracts, and boundary line disputes. Crawford in his application noted that he has appeared “mainly before rezoning boards, county commissioners and tax appeal boards.”

Like Crawford, McMillian will be new to the bench as well having no prior judicial experience. McMillian, 37, of Tyrone, has significant courtroom experience as a corporate business attorney, with some three quarters of her litigation being in federal court, according to her judicial application.

McMillian also listed among her experience pro bono cases including a local chlid custody case involving parental abuse allegations and work on her firm’s representation of a former death row inmate.

Superior Court judges handle felony criminal cases and also civil trials ranging from divorce to corporate disputes and a wide range of others. State Court judges handle misdemeanor cases and traffic violations along with other civil cases as well.