Jonesboro attorney inducted into service chapter

A Jonesboro attorney, and former Clayton County assistant district attorney, has been inducted into the Distinguished Service Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

John M. Turner received the honor during a ceremony at the Sigma Zeta Foundation in East Point.

"I've received a lot of awards over the years, but this is most significant because of the regard I have for this fraternity and its principles," he said. "I am honored to be recognized by my brothers, because of the work I've put in as general counsel over the years."

Turner came to Clayton County in 2005, when Jewel Scott was elected to the office of district attorney. He served as her chief executive assistant district attorney until her re-election bid failed in 2008.

The two formed a law partnership, and are in private practice in Jonesboro. Scott couldn't attend the ceremony, but fraternity brother, William Stanley, read remarks she provided in Turner's honor.

"He's the quintessential intellectual, who is conversant in any topic," said Scott. "He is so dependent and loyal, and is a true friend. He is sardonic and cynical, and has a tough exterior, but must be soft somewhere, because he cares for his six dogs like they are his children."

Scott described Turner as "the best trial attorney in the state," with a "real courtroom presence."

Stanley said Turner is the 164th inductee into the chapter.

"It is a bigger deal than most people realize," Stanley said. "This award is not given for longevity, but to brothers who have served well."

Turner was born in Atlanta, and got his undergraduate degree from Morris Brown College. He studied law at George Washington Law School. He was admitted to the bar in 1973. He also served his country in the military.

But he didn't always want to be a lawyer.

"I wanted to teach and go into music," said Turner. "In high school, I was voted 'Most likely to Succeed' but I wanted to be 'Most Talented.'"

However, as an attorney for almost 40 years, Turner said he learned a valuable maxim.

"I learned a long time ago, 'If you can't get a lawyer who knows the law, get one who knows the judge,'" he said.