Local Runoffs More Important Than BREXIT

There are a handful of runoff elections on July 26, but none more important than the judicial contests. As entertaining as it may be to watch the Euro-weenie elites and their fellow travelling American counterparts have a collective meltdown over the fact that Great Britain voted to leave a common market that they first weren’t allowed into, nobody in Britain or Europe can do anything that will directly affect your day-to-day life in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

Local stuff matters more. The europeans can’t put a stadium in your backyard and screw up traffic in your neighborhoods. And local judicial races matter even more: Superior Court Judges are elected officials who have the authority to take away your liberty, your loved ones -or your life.

There are a handful of judicial runoffs in the greater metro Atlanta area. Cobb’s got one, Clayton’s got two, as does Fulton County –and one of the ones in Fulton is downright scary.

Belinda Edwards used to be a juvenile court judge –so she calls herself “judge” in her campaign literature. (That’s a no-no, according to the way judicial candidates are required to conduct their campaigns under the canons of judicial conduct. A complaint has been filed.)

As juvenile court judge, Ms. Edwards seems to have gotten herself far too involved in an adoption case in which a Fulton County couple decided to foster Jada and Julian Wilson –twins who were at risk of abuse. (One child suffered a fractured skull at the age of five weeks.) The birth mother wasn’t able to provide for the twins, and after 18 months as foster parents, Ted and Lisa Williams petitioned to adopt them. Their petition was granted –until Judge Edwards found out, and spent most of 2011 and 2012 attempting to make sure that Ted and Lisa Williams would not be allowed to raise Jada and Julian.

Why? Well, media coverage at the time included this quote from Ted Williams, the foster/adoptive Dad: “Yes, I believe race has a big place in this dispute. If we and the twins were the same race, this would have never gone so far,” Williams said. Yes, this was a case of black children being adopted by white parents. Is that why Edwards overturned an adoption, forced the Williams’ to spend $40,000 on legal fees, and sent deputies out to serve subpoenas to toddlers? Other than Mr. Williams, no one has said so directly.

But campaigns are probably the only times regular folk can ask questions of those seeking the power accorded a judge in a Superior Court in Georgia. And the Superior Court Judges in Fulton did not see fit to re-appoint Ms. Edwards in 2012. Edwards’ is in this runoff with Sterling Eaves, who’s been a traffic and municipal court judge in the City of Atlanta, and has 12 years in the Fulton County Magistrate Court.

So if you’ll be one of the tiny fraction of people going to vote on July 26, to decide if a former Judge who still calls herself a Judge and who once tried to take small children out of a loving home will be granted the power to decide if people go to jail and for how long, maybe you’ll want to ask her about that.

By way of disclosure, I should note that I have zero affiliation with either campaign.

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Interesting that my early voting site isn’t open for this runoff. I guess they figure it wouldn’t make sense with <5% turnout to staff them all.


Don’t drink and Judge. “Two people — Shana Byers Vinyard and John Lofty — are in the July 26th non-partisan runoff for Cope’s seat. Townsend said he could find someone to fill the remainder of Cope’s term until January, but if the winner of the runoff is able to begin their duties right away, he would more than likely appoint the runoff winner to the seat.”