September 16, 2019

Sarah Japour recommended as candidate for judge vacancy

(Atlanta, GA) — The Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) has submitted recommendations to fill vacancies within the Superior Courts of the Coweta, Macon, and Stone Mountain Judicial Circuits.

The vacancy within the Coweta Judicial Circuit was created by the resignation of the Honorable Jack Kirby and a Heard County resident, Sarah Stimac Japour, is one of those being considered to fill the position.

Sarah Stimac Japour

Japour is currently the senior assistant district attorney for the Coweta Circuit and has served in the office of the district attorney since 2001.

Gov. Brian Kemp will fill the vacancy from three recommendations provided by the JNC.

The Commission considered 15 applications, out of 17 nominations, to come up with the short list, which has been submitted to Gov. Brian Kemp.

Gov. Kemp will then appoint someone to fill the unexpired term of Judge Kirby, who retired at the end of January.

Also being considered are Troup County Solicitor General Nina Markette Baker and Jeffrey M. Todd, a partner at the Lewis, Taylor and Todd law firm in LaGrange.

Baker has served in her current role with Troup County since 2004.

Todd served as the Heard County attorney in 2012 and additionally has represented the City of Franklin in the past as well. He currently serves as the city attorney for Lagrange, Hogansville, and West Point.

Markette and Japour were on the short list when Judge Hightower was appointed in 2016, while Todd was one of five attorneys considered when Kirby was first appointed in 2006 to fill a new judgeship that was created for the Coweta Circuit.

If either Japour or Baker are appointed to the position, they would become the first female judge in the history of the Coweta Circuit.

The Governor’s Office will contact candidates in the coming days to schedule interviews, but no timetable has been released for a decision. The Coweta Judicial Circuit includes Heard, Carroll, Coweta, Troup, and Meriwether counties.

Japour graduated from Florida State University and received her law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. She has passed the bar and is licensed to practice law in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.

The 45-year-old started her career as a prosecutor in Florida and was in-house counsel for a large construction company prior to moving to Georgia. She says becoming a judge is something she has always wanted.

“I’ve devoted most of my life to public service and this would be another step in the natural progression of my career,” said Japour in an interview with The Heard Citizen this week. “I have worked in the judicial system for the past 18 years and my passion is ensuring that justice is served for all people.”

Japour is married to Justin Japour and has two children currently enrolled in Heard County schools. She is an avid supporter of the Brave Nation and believes her experience here in Heard County (both personal and professional) would be very beneficial if she is named the next Superior Court Judge.

“Having spent the majority of my time in Heard County over these last 18 years has taught me so much about treating people the way you want to be treated and that no matter what something looks like you can never make assumptions,” says Japour.

“I think a lot of times we forget that everyone doesn’t live the same way that we live. There are people that have a lot and there are people that have nothing so you can’t just look at someone and make a determination about who that person is.”

Japour also cites several important influences during her time in the District Attorney’s office.

“My biggest mentors have been former Coweta District Attorney Pete Skandalakis together with Heard County Sheriff Ross Henry. Between them, they absolutely taught me that justice comes with mercy and grace is the greatest gift you can give.”

The judge seat will be up for election in 2020.

Comments

  1. Sara would be my recommendation.

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