By Ed Brock
Incumbent Clayton County Probate Judge Pamela Ferguson successfully defended the seat she won just about nine months ago in a special election.
Ferguson, 40, was elected in October 2003 to replace retiring Judge Eugene Lawson. She defeated opponent attorney Bobby Simmons 16,408 votes to 8,786 with all precincts reporting except for absentee and early voting results.
"I just want to thank everybody," Ferguson said. "I'll continue to serve as probate court. I'll get back to revising the pamphlets and the computer system and doing the things that need to be done in probate court."
Since her election Ferguson has joined several committees with other probate judges, such as a committee to revise the state forms used in the probate court. She has also initiated a new computer system to track the court's requests for vital records (birth and death certificates), a system that determines who is being served and how long it is taking.
She's also networked some computers in the court to make them more efficient and she has revised some of the court's information pamphlets to make them easier to understand.
Ferguson, who has practiced law for the past 14 years in Jonesboro, grew up in the legal system, working with her father, Monroe Ferguson, who has been an attorney for 37 years.
She is a certified mediator and a certified arbitrator.
After long-time Probate Judge Eugene Lawson announced his retirement last year, Ferguson faced three opponents in the special election. She won the seat in a run-off election. Simmons was one of the four candidates for the seat but got knocked out in the first race.
Ferguson attended Clayton State College and transferred to the University of Georgia, where she graduated with a BA degree in 1986. Later she earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia in 1989 and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in June of 1989.
Simmons, 49, has lived in the Hampton area for three years and practiced in Forest Park since 1990. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas (his home state) and got his law degree from the Mississippi College of Law.