Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney Howard Simms resigned Monday after filing qualifying paperwork to run for a Superior Court judgeship.
Simms, who was elected as district attorney in 2000, is running for the seat currently held by Macon Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Lamar Sizemore. Sizemore has announced he will not seek re-election this year.
The Macon Judicial Circuit comprises Bibb, Crawford and Peach counties.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of this circuit as both the elected district attorney for the past nine and a half years and as an assistant district attorney for 12 years prior to that,” Simms said in a statement released Monday afternoon.
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Simms, 47, said he brings a new and needed perspective to the bench through his more than 20 years of prosecuting felony offenses.
“The protection of the citizens of this circuit is a responsibility that I have taken very seriously as district attorney and, if elected, intend to continue to take that responsibility as a judge,” he said.
Simms said he may practice law privately as he campaigns in the coming months. His bid was unopposed as of late Monday afternoon.
Simms faced public scrutiny earlier this month in connection with a traffic stop and questions of whether a police officer gave him special treatment. Macon police denied showing Simms favoritism.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Wayne G. Tillis assumed the position of acting district attorney Monday.
Tillis has served as chief assistant since 2008.
In recent years, he has prosecuted cases in Bibb and Crawford counties. While absorbing more administrative duties with Simms’ exit, Tillis said he will continue to prosecute cases.
A special election will be held Nov. 2 to fill Simms’ post, said Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office.
The qualifying period has not yet been scheduled.
Tillis, who has been a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office since 1979, said he’s not planning to run for district attorney.
“I’m just minding the store until the election,” he said.
Sharell Lewis and Greg Winters, both assistant district attorneys in Simms’ office, announced their candidacy for district attorney this year.
Jones County prosecutor Gregory Bushway and Houston County prosecutor David Cooke also have said they want to be on the ballot.
In other qualifying Monday, Macon Judicial Circuit incumbent Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self III also filed his paperwork to seek a second term.
He was unopposed as of late Monday.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.