CLARKESVILLE - As family, friends and judicial colleagues watched, Gerald Johnson of Demorest was sworn in as Habersham County's chief magistrate judge Tuesday.<br />
"This position is something I've aspired for for many years and now that I'm in this position my life kind of makes sense," Johnson said. "I'm very excited about starting this new job and appreciate all the support." <br />
Habersham County Probate Judge Pam Wooley administered the oaths of office to Johnson before members of his family, Superior Court Chief Judge Chan Caudell, State Court Judge Steve Campbell, Public Defender Drew Powell, and others.<br />
Johnson said he understands there is a long road ahead of him, including having to run for the office in 2016, but he wants to do his best for the duration of his time in office.<br />
"I hope at the end, the end result is everybody can at least say I've been fair and tried to do the best for everybody," Johnson said. That's my goal and that's what I'm looking forward to."<br />
Johnson replaces Chief Magistrate Judge James N. Butterworth, who retired effective July 16.<br />
Magistrate court jurisdiction includes civil claims of $15,000 or less; certain minor criminal offenses; distress warrants and dispossessory writs; county ordinance violations; deposit account fraud (bad checks); preliminary hearings; and summonses, arrest and search warrants.
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
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