James A. White (incumbent), Fayette Magistrate Judge Post 4 (nonpartisan)



QUESTION: You are asking to be hired (or re-hired) by the voters of this county. Give five reasons why they should vote for you and not your opponent.

Five reasons to vote for Judge James A White, Magistrate Court, Post 4:

1. I have lived in Fayette County for 43 years and raised my children here. I have been judge of Magistrate Court, Post 4, for 30-plus years.

Originally, I was first elected to Small Claims Court which merged into Magistrate Court. Fayette County voters returned me to office in each election since. I had my law practice in Fayette County under the name of Bischoff and White, PC.

I still have an active license to practice law and am a member of the State Bar of Georgia and Fayette County Bar Association. I do not now have an active practice to avoid potential conflicts as a judge. I am able to devote my full attention to the Court and have the ability to cover any situation or need at any time.

I have issued search warrants, arrest warrants, temporary protective orders, family violence restriction orders and held many civil, landlord/tenant, pre-issuance and preliminary (criminal) hearings. I am well founded in the law and Magistrate Court practice and procedures. Put all this together and you have the experience necessary to re-hire me as magistrate judge.

2. I have the ability to converse with parties when hearing cases between non-lawyer litigants and also converse with lawyers in lawyer-represented cases. Magistrate is a court of law and I rule on what the evidence shows and not the emotions of the parties. It is my job to act as a non-biased judge in all court proceedings.

When asked, I am able to talk to non-lawyer parties (post judgment) concerning how the law affected their case and how their evidence interacted with the law applicable to their case. This helps the parties understand the courts and how the law affects their lives. This also helps to create an easier, more user-friendly Magistrate Court as the peoples’ court.

With my knowledge of law and history in Magistrate Court, I ask Fayette citizens to consider me an asset to the Magistrate Court. I will use my experience to keep the Magistrate Court the best justice administered and user friendly court in the state. Judge James A White is the best qualified to be re-hired as Magistrate Judge.

3. There are rules promulgated by the Supreme Court of Georgia that govern the Magistrate Court as to practice and procedure in addition to statutory law concerning court operations. I have studied those rules and laws and therefore have experience in their application.

A judge of Magistrate Court must understand how those rules and law affect the filing of a claim. A claim does not have to be in detail to be filed and the judge has to be able to see what the claimant is presenting. This also true as to the answer that has to be filed. Those rules and laws apply to all cases whether with or without lawyers. I already have that ability from my years of experience.

The court is designed so that persons who are not lawyers can handle their own case. The judge should know how to conduct such a hearing without favoring either side. There is also those cases having lawyers on one side and non-lawyer on the other. With those cases a judge needs the skill to hear the case allowing the lawyers to use their skills and also allow non-lawyer parties to have their say to avoid feeling shut out, all without taking sides.

Again, Judge James A White has the experience from years of service and is the best qualified to be re-hired as magistrate judge.

4. There is no jury trial in the Magistrate Court. The case is only heard by the judge. The judge must avoid being an arbitrator in order to settle the case between the parties. The judge hears the presented evidence and does not take over the case.

The danger in both situations is the judge may have the appearance of taking sides. The judge can ask questions on the evidence presented, but should allow each party an opportunity to comment. The judge must at all times avoid giving advise to either party as to what they should do in a case (it will always come back and bite you).

The Magistrate Court has no restraining or injunctive relief powers and can only enter money judgments; therefore, a judge should avoid telling the parties they have to do something as part of the judgment. The court has jurisdiction over landlord and tenant cases and by law can grant possession.

In Magistrate Court the parties want a judge who knows how to conduct a trial; knows what evidence is relevant to the issue; what law applies to the issue from the evidence presented and issues a judgment accordingly. The judge should be non-biased as to the parties and issue before the court. Again, my experience in each these subjects makes Judge James A. White the judge to re-hire.

5. Fayette County voters can have trust in my experience to be the best judge for Post 4, Magistrate Court. I am up to date on statutory and case law for cases within Magistrate Court jurisdiction. I have conducted myself in a judicial and ethical manner, both on and off the bench. I have completed all mandatory training requirements except those scheduled for this year. I helped bring and now use technology in court operations.

Having trusted Judge James A. White in past elections, you can do so again and feel safe in re-hiring me over my opponent. Please continue your trust when you cast your vote in this election. Thanks, Judge James A White.

QUESTION: How are you different from your opponent(s) in your philosophy and your approach to this elected office?

I do not know enough about my opponent to venture an opinion on her. We have only met a few times at court. As for me I refer to:

Lady Justice, who is holding balanced scales for a reason. She is a reminder that judges are to administer law justly to all persons without regard to status. Judges should not comment, represent or support any issue, cause or group for fear of being out of balance on administering law and justice in court.

That is the reason ethics rules concerning judges admonish such activities. Equal application of the rule of law is what keeps the scales of justice in balance. It also is the glue that keeps faith in our courts strong. Judges must be ever vigilant to keep courts independent of outside influence.

As judge of Magistrate Court, Post 4, I have followed the ideal of Lady Justice for many years. My experience and your keeping me in office through several elections is proof of my upholding that ideal. With your support I will continue my dedication to law and justice as a judge who keeps the scales balanced.

Please cast your vote for JUDGE JAMES A WHITE, POST 4, MAGISTRATE COURT.