A Milledgeville public defender filed qualifying paperwork Wednesday, becoming the third attorney vying to fill a Macon Judicial Circuit judgeship.
Jim Barnes, 56, said he entered the race after being encouraged by members of the community who are unhappy with the judicial system’s current state.
In the Macon Circuit, Barnes said he’s concerned how former District Attorney Howard Simms would perform as a judge based on his record as a prosecutor.
He described Simms as having “a lot of bark, but not a lot of bite.”
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If elected, Barnes said he’ll be harder on crime while still treating each case with fairness.
“I’m not a pushover,” he said.
Barnes moved to Macon with his family in 1989 from his native New Jersey. He graduated from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law in 1992 and established his own law practice after graduation.
He started work as a public defender in Milledgeville in 2005.
Barnes joins Macon attorney G. Morris Carr, 36, and Simms, 47, in the race, scheduled for a vote in November. Lamar Sizemore, a judge in the circuit, which includes Bibb, Crawford and Peach counties, has said he will not seek re-election later this year.
Carr also filed qualifying papers Wednesday. He’s said he thinks there’s a place on the bench for a younger judge.
Simms resigned from his post as the circuit’s district attorney Monday after filing qualifying paperwork to run for the judgeship on the same day. He has said he would bring a new and needed perspective to the bench through his more than 20 years of prosecuting felony offenses.
He faced public scrutiny recently in connection with a traffic stop and questions of whether a police officer gave him special treatment.
Macon police denied showing Simms favoritism.