published Monday, August 8th, 2011

Committee narrows Walker County judge search

A state commission has narrowed the search for the recently opened Walker County State Court judge seat to two final candidates.

The Judicial Nominating Commission has recommended LaFayette attorney Bill Slack and Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Bruce Roberts to Gov. Nathan Deal, who will make the final decision.

The State Court judge position was vacated when Judge Donald Peppers retired earlier this year.

After interviewing nominees the week of July 18, the commission announced the two final candidates online.

The Walker County State Court handles all criminal misdemeanors, domestic violence, traffic and civil lawsuits. But officials say Walker County is one of the few counties in North Georgia to still use state courts.

Slack, 62, received his law degree from Mercer University. He has practiced law in LaFayette for 30 years, taking mainly civil cases, an office employee said. Slack was out of his office all week and didn't return messages seeking comment.

Roberts, 45, said he also received his law degree from Mercer University. He's practiced law for 20 years, and for 16 years he's been a prosecutor in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit. Roberts said he prosecuted most of the drug cases in the circuit.

"I'm qualified because I'm pretty well-rounded, having done civil and criminal," he said.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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