Governor names woman for first time as D.A. in Griffin Circuit

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Newly appointed District Attorney Marie Broder. Photo/Submitted.
Newly appointed District Attorney Marie Broder. Photo/Submitted.

District Attorney Ben Coker gets promotion to superior court judge — 

Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ben Coker. Photo/Submitted.
Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ben Coker. Photo/Submitted.

For the first time in the history of the Griffin Judicial Circuit, a woman is the chief prosecuting attorney.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Feb. 14 announced his selection of District Attorney Ben Coker to fill a vacancy on the Griffin Judicial Circuit Superior Court, and Marie G. Broder, Coker’s chief assistant, to serve as the new Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney. The Griffin Circuit encompasses Fayette, Spalding, Pike and Upson counties.

Coker’s appointment will fill the position created when the circuit was recently approved for a fifth Superior Court judge.

Coker holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Risk Management, and Insurance from the University of Georgia and a law degree from the Georgia State University College of Law.

Prior to his appointment, Coker served as an associate attorney and assistant district attorney, and he currently serves as District Attorney of the Griffin Judicial Circuit.

Coker is a member of the Thomaston Bar Association, Spalding County Bar Association, Fayette County Bar Association, and he is a board member for Promise Place, a domestic violence prevention agency.

He and his wife, Christy, reside in Thomaston with their children.

Coker was elected to the open post in 2016 after the previous DA, Scott Ballard of Fayetteville, outpolled the incumbent Superior Court Judge Tommy Hankinson in 2016. Ballard had been DA since being elected in 2005.

“I’ve been honored and humbled to serve the citizens of the judicial circuit,” Coker said Friday. “I appreciate Gov. Kemp’s confidence in me and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the Griffin Judicial Circuit.”

Commenting on Broder’s selection to serve as District Attorney, Coker said he is leaving the position in good hands.

No woman has ever served in the top prosecutorial spot in the Griffin Circuit.

Broder received bachelor’s degrees in Speech Communication and Public Relations and a law degree from the University of Georgia.

Broder has served as a law clerk and associate, assistant district attorney, and office manager and she currently serves as Chief Assistant District Attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit.

Broder is a member of the Federalist Society, Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, Georgia Bar Association, Phi Beta Kappa, Daughters of the American Revolution, Spalding County Bar Association, Fayette County Bar Association, Upson County Bar Association and Georgia Association of Women Lawyers.

Broder and her husband, Karl, reside in Griffin with their daughter.

The circuit is still one judge short. Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge Robert “Mack” Crawford submitted his resignation from the bench as part of a felony theft plea deal in which the judge received probation but no jail time.

Crawford, whose term expires in December, agreed to retire and promised not to run for re-election or apply for, run or serve as a judge in any court during his 12-month probationary period.

That leaves one judge slot still open for the governor to fill in the Griffin Circuit.

Coker joins remaining Superior Court Senior Judge Christopher Edwards, Judge Fletcher Sams and Judge Scott Ballard on the Griffin Circuit bench.

The three current Griffin Judicial Circuit superior court judges are shown in a photo from 2016. (L-R) Judges Fletcher Sams, Charles Ballard and Christopher Edwards. Photo/Submitted.</b>
The three current Griffin Judicial Circuit superior court judges are shown in a photo from 2016. (L-R) Judges Fletcher Sams, Scott Ballard and Christopher Edwards. Photo/Submitted.