With a judge in the Macon Judicial Circuit considering retirement, an early contender has emerged to fill the potential vacancy on the bench: Bibb County’s district attorney.
Superior Court Judge Lamar Sizemore has confirmed rumors that he’s thinking about leaving the bench at the end of his term to return to mediation as a lawyer or to become a senior judge.
“I’m certainly considering it,” said Sizemore, who was appointed to his position in 2001 by then-Gov. Roy Barnes to fill a vacancy created by the death of Judge Walker P. Johnson Jr. Sizemore’s term expires Dec. 31.
Bibb County District Attorney Howard Simms said Monday that if Sizemore steps down, he plans to resign from his post at the end of June and run for the judgeship.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who are very supportive,” Simms said. “I think it’s time.”
The bench needs someone with experience in criminal procedures on the state level, he said, adding that much of the sitting judges’ previous experience involves civil practice.
Simms was elected as district attorney for Bibb, Crawford and Peach counties in 2000 and took office in 2001.
The qualification period for both elected positions will be from April 26-30, according to the Bibb County Board of Elections.
Simms received his law degree from Mercer University’s law school in 1988 and was hired as an assistant district attorney to handle Bibb County Juvenile Court cases. Two years later, he was prosecuting narcotics cases. From there he moved on to the gang task force and some major murder trials, including helping with the prosecution of Teresa Fargason. Fargason was convicted of killing her young daughter in 1993.
To be a Superior Court judge, a person must be 30 years old, a resident of the state for at least three years, have practiced law for seven years and reside in the judicial circuit.
A person running for district attorney must be 25 years old, a resident of the state for three years, have practiced law in the Superior Courts for at least three years, and reside in the judicial circuit.
David Cooke, chief prosecutor with the Houston County District Attorney’s Office Special Victims Unit, has expressed early interest in running for Simms’ post.
“I’m honored and humbled at the number of people who have talked to me about the possibility,” he said.
Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.