Morrison poised to become one of state's first openly gay judges

Attorney Jane Morrison unofficially garnered more than 60 percent of the vote in her election attempt to gain a seat on the Fulton County State Court.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, attorney Jane Morrison appears to have won her nonpartisan race for a seat on the Fulton County State Court.

Unofficial results of 346 of 348 precincts reporting show Morrison with 61 percent of the vote to Magistrate Judge Melynee Leftridge's 39 percent (59,911 to 38,270 in votes). The seat became open when Judge Brenda Cole decided to retire after serving 14 years on the bench.

If the results stand, Morrison will become one of the first openly gay judges in the state.

Her partner is Fulton County Commission Joan Garner, who on Sunday blasted a new 30-second automated robocall to Fulton County voters. On the call, Garner stated, “I’m calling you and your neighbors to ask you to join me in voting for Jane Morrison for State Court Judge. Jane’s fair and honest and will do a great job for everyone and Fulton County.”

Morrison and Garner live in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

Coming from a judicial background, Morrison was appointed as Judge Pro Hac Vice in Atlanta Municipal Court by then-mayor Bill Campbell in 2000. As a municipal judge, Morrison heard criminal cases from Fulton and DeKalb County.

After serving in municipal court, Morrison worked part time as a Magistrate in Fulton County State Court from 2003-2005. While serving with the State Court, Morrison frequently worked overnight at the Fulton County jail, where she heard applications for search warrants and arrest warrants.

Morrison’s experience as a judge taught her the importance of trials. “Some cases need to be tried. [As a State Court judge] I would feel it was my duty to give parties their day in court,” she told Patch before the election.

In 2004 Morrison opened her own law office, where she specializes in contract disputes, family law and estate planning. She also served as an Assistant Solicitor in Fulton County starting in 1994, where she worked on appeals. Morrison said the Court upheld 100 percent of its convictions during her time with the Solicitor General’s office.

Having been both lawyer and judge, Morrison told Patch before the election that she has developed a solid understanding of the legal system. “You have to have a good appreciation of playing by the rules as a lawyer, all the more so as a judge,” she said.

- Sam Colt contributed to this report

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