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Third judgeship created

By Ed Brock

After four years as an associate judge in Clayton County Juvenile Court, Steven Teske now gets to drop the first word in his title.

Teske, 43, was sworn in as the county's third full juvenile court judge in a brief ceremony Thursday in the probate courtroom two stories below where he will now have full authority. Chief Juvenile Judge K. Van Banke and Juvenile Judge Tracy Graham were also sworn in for another four-year term after being re-appointed by the county's four superior court judges.

"We felt like, given the workload of the court and that the job all three judges have been doing was so remarkable and good that we would elevate the associate judge," said Clayton County Superior Court Chief Judge Stephen Boswell who administered the oath to the judges.

The judges then brought the decision to the county commission and the commission then agreed to the change. Boswell will receive an increase in salary, from $81,155 a year to $121,614 a year, along with the increase in authority.

That new authority is a benefit to the entire court system, Teske said, since the decision of an associate judge can be appealed to another juvenile judge.

"That tends to be cumbersome to the system because it ties up the chief judge," Teske said.

Banke said some people don't like a particular judge and seek to manipulate the system and "judge shop" by asking for a full judge instead of an associate judge.

"I spent three hours on a hearing on somebody who was judge-shopping," Banke said. "That's a waste of time."

Last year the juvenile court heard 6,706 cases.

There was one other applicant for the juvenile judge positions but Boswell and the other judges chose to remain with the current three.