New Judge Receives Gavel

Gov. Brian Kemp presented new Judge Layla Zon with a gavel made by prisoners in the Georgia corrections system after he swore her in as a new Superior Court judge on Tuesday morning, June 2, 2020, at the state Capitol in Atlanta. Kemp said his predecessor, Gov. Nathan Deal, started the tradition to remind judges of the people in the corrections system and their talents.

ATLANTA — Layla Zon became the newest member of the Superior Court in Newton and Walton counties in a decade on Tuesday.

Gov. Brian Kemp swore in the former district attorney as a judge in the Alcovy Circuit. She succeeds Samuel D. Ozburn, who retired at the end of April. Kemp appointed Ozburn as a senior judge.

Zon, of Covington, is the first female Superior Court judge in the circuit, which was created in 1972. She has served as a prosecutor in the circuit since 2000, when she graduated from law school at Georgia State University.

Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed her district attorney in 2010 after he named Ken Wynne to a judgeship when the Superior Court expanded to have five judges.

“She’s been a great leader in this community and a great prosecutor, but also she’s a great person,” Kemp said before swearing her in at the state Capitol.

“As I told him when he called to appoint me, I am honored to have his trust and confidence, and I told him I won’t let him down,” Zon said.

“I echo what the governor just stated, that now more than ever, it is important for the public and people in our community to have confidence in the court system. We are fortunate in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit to have great judges. … It’s going to an honor to serve with all of you, and I promise to work hard and my goal is to strive to increase the confidence in our court system.”

Zon grew up in Gwinnett County and is a 1996 graduate of Liberty University.

Zon’s appointment as a judge creates a vacancy for district attorney. Walton County resident Randy McGinley was sworn in Tuesday afternoon in Monroe as the interim district attorney.

McGinley Sworn In

Randy McGinley, left, was sworn as the interim district attorney for the Alcovy Circuit on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Monroe, Ga. Chief Judge John M. Ott, right, administered the oath. McGinley served as chief assistant district attorney from 2017-20.

McGinley has spent more than eight years as a prosecutor. He has a degree from Georgia Tech and worked as a real estate appraiser before going to law school at Mercer University.

He joined the Newton County district attorney’s office in 2011, just after graduating from Mercer, and moved to the Walton DA’s office a few years later.

He was named chief assistant district attorney in January 2017, succeeding Melanie Bell after her election as probate judge and chief magistrate in Newton County.

Kemp will choose the next district attorney.

Newton and Walton counties still have one contested Superior Court judge’s race. It’s for the spot held by Eugene M. Benton, who has served since 2005 but is retiring at year’s end.

Competing for the seat in a nonpartisan race are Loganville attorney Jeff Foster, Henry County Chief Assistant District Attorney Cheveda McCamy of Covington and Covington attorney Bob Stansfield.

Chief Judge John Ott, Horace J. Johnson Jr. and Wynne are running for reelection unopposed.

The district attorney election, and Zon’s seat for a full term, will go before voters in 2022.

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