A candidate for a Southern Judicial Circuit Superior Court judgeship said someone who works in Superior Court should be elected judge.
The candidate, Brian A. McDaniel, senior assistant district attorney in the Moultrie district attorney office and previously in private practice, considers his courtroom experience necessary for a Superior Court judgeship that is to be voted on in the May 20 primary election.
McDaniel and two other candidates are seeking the judgeship held by Frank Horkan, of Moultrie, who is retiring Dec. 31.
McDaniel said the Moultrie office maintained by Horkan should remain in Moultrie. The local bar, law enforcement, battered women and probation need the services of a local judge to sign warrants and to issue restraining orders and search warrants, McDaniel explained.
As Superior Court judge, McDaniel would continue a program Horkan and the Moultrie district attorney office have worked on that focuses on drug offenses and mental health issues. A defendant must enter a guilty plea and agree to a program of continuing commitment to a rehabilitation program.
McDaniel said it is important for a Superior Court judge to maintain an office in and live in Moultrie.
He said a judge should have experience in civil and criminal law. The candidate said he has handled four times as many appeals as his opponents combined.
He separately and successfully prosecuted three defendants in a case of five murders, as well as trying five defendants in a street gang case that involved murder and armed robbery.
McDaniel has worked extensively with the five sitting circuit judges. He said he practices patience, applies rules of evidence and has respect for all parties in the courtroom.
The candidate said he is one of only a few Southern circuit lawyers to have attended advanced education in death penalty work and to have worked on a death penalty case.
The death penalty is the law in Georgia, McDaniel said, adding that as judge, he would ensure that a person being tried in a death penalty case would receive a trial as fair as any other defendant.
Whether civil or criminal, appearing in a courtroom can be the worst experience in a person’s life, McDaniel said.
Once a case reaches the courtroom, the candidate said, it should be handled smoothly, efficiently and fairly.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.