Lanier says extensive courtroom experience distinguishes herself from opponent

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2016

After narrowly finishing second in the May primary election for Superior Court Judge, Heather Lanier quickly got to work to try and make up the deficit.

“I think immediately going in and talking to Mike Bankston’s supporters has been important,” Lanier said. “Getting in and meeting them in all five counties has been very important. I’ve been very successful doing that.”

The biggest advantage for Lanier’s opponent Ryan Cleveland was in Decatur County. Lanier said that she is not deterred by Cleveland’s advantage in his home county though.

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“When I started this election I knew that I had to work on name recognition in Decatur and Grady counties and I must have done something right,” she said. “I was 40 votes behind Ryan and did pick up over 1000 votes in Decatur County.”

Lanier has spent the majority of her law career working in Dougherty County, where she is currently the Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney, but she says that her experience working in a larger district makes her the more qualified candidate.

“It has allowed me to have substantial courtroom experience that far exceeds Mr. Cleveland, with much more complex litigation,” Lanier said. “If you’re a judge you’re in the courtroom. I’m in the courtroom an average of three days a week. You try cases. I’ve had over 100 trials.”

Lanier lives in Baker County where she maintains deep ties to the community.

“Not only do I work law, but we have family businesses that are in the district,” she said. “I am up working in this circuit every day before the suns up and almost always past the sun being down.”

If elected, Lanier said she hopes to reach out to the community and help them learn more about the court system and continue to implement the drug treatment court.

The drug treatment court only recently started in this circuit, but Lanier has spent ten years working with a similar court in Dougherty County.

“I’ve been in that system,” Lanier said. “I’ve seen what works and what didn’t. I’ve made a lot of the contacts that we need to make our system successful.”

Early voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the remainder of this week at the elections office in the courthouse annex and at the fairgrounds. Early voting will also be open on Saturday, July 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Next week the times will change to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The race is non-partisan, meaning voters will not have to choose a ballot as in previous elections.

On July 26, all nine precincts in Decatur County will be open for voting.


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