The Gwinnett Bar Association poll showed that all three incumbents were rated “well qualified” by the lawyers who participated in the survey.
The Gwinnett County Bar Association released a members’ poll showing strong support for two Superior Court judges and one State Court judge facing challengers in the June 9 elections.
The poll, released late last month, included responses from 343 members of GCBA, many of whom had remarks—some pointed, some of praise—for the candidates.
Association President Donald Lee said, given the fact that many voters will be casting their ballots by mail, he wanted to share the results as widely as possible.
“It’s important to get that information out for non-lawyers, who probably don’t know who these people are,” Lee said.
Superior Court Races
Incumbent Judge Randy Rich is facing challenger Tamela Adkins. Rich was appointed by then-Gov. Nathan Deal in 2014 and faced no opposition when he ran to keep the seat in 2016.
When Deal tapped him for the court, Rich was serving as State Court judge, to which he was elected in 2004.
Rich launched the Gwinnett County Business Court and serves as an accountability court judge, and according to his campaign website is an adjunct law professor and teaches continuing legal education courses on professionalism, ethics and evidence.
He is a graduate of the University of Georgia Law School and joined the State Bar of Georgia in 1992.
Adkins is a family law specialist based in Lawrenceville who, according to her website, has represented “thousands of men and women in courtrooms throughout Georgia and Florida.”
Adkins is opposing Rich because, her site claims, he does not hear the majority of domestic cases assigned to him and instead relies on magistrate judges to handle that caseload.
Adkins is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport Law School and joined the bar in 1993.
The poll results:
Adkins: Well-qualified: 31 (9%); qualified: 64 (19%); not qualified: 103 (30%); not enough personal knowledge to answer: 145 (42%).
Rich: Well-qualified: 235 (69%); qualified: 65 (19%); not qualified: 7 (2%); not enough personal knowledge to answer: 36 (11%).
A former family law attorney, Schrader also served as a municipal court judge for Duluth and Sugar Hill before being elected to the Superior Court bench in 2012. She was reelected in 2016.
Schrader is a graduate of Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law and joined the State Bar of Georgia in 1976.
Schrader may seem like an easy target: She was indicted for computer trespass last year after hiring a private investigator to place a device on her court computer when she became concerned it had been hacked, but a mistrial was declared when the jury couldn’t reach a decision in February.
Schrader was suspended from the bench by the Judicial Qualifications Council after her indictment. That suspension expired, but she remains voluntarily off the bench, pending possible retrial.
She was nonetheless the favorite among the Gwinnett lawyers responding to the poll.
Fluker has served as a judge in Gwinnett’s Magistrate Court since 2016. She also has served as an associate municipal judge in Dacula and Suwanee. She began her legal career as an assistant prosecutor in the Northeastern, Stone Mountain and Gwinnett judicial circuits before launching a private practice, which she gave up when appointed as a magistrate judge.
Fluker is a graduate of the Georgia State University College of Law and joined the bar in 1997.
Kautz began her legal career as an assistant prosecutor in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit before going into private practice in Snellville, specializing in criminal and family law.
She served on the Snellville City Council for five years before being elected mayor of that city in 2011. She lost a reelection bid four years later.
She now serves as an attorney and guardian ad litem for the Gwinnett Juvenile Court.
Kautz graduated from the University of Georgia Law School and joined the bar in 2002. Kirk is a criminal and family law specialist in Suwanee. Before opening her practice in 2013, she served as a senior assistant prosecutor in the Gwinnett County DA’s office.
Kirk is a graduate of the Georgia State University College of Law and joined the bar in 2004.
Parker is a Grayson solo who moved to Gwinnett in 1996 and practices general civil and criminal law. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and joined the State Bar of Georgia in 1999.
Fluker: Well-qualified: 95 (28%); qualified: 96 (28%); not qualified: 44 (13%); not enough personal knowledge to answer: 108 (31%).
Kautz: Well-qualified: 22 (6%); qualified: 62 (18%); not qualified: 107 (31%); not enough personal knowledge to answer: 152 (44%).
Kirk: Well-qualified: 76 (22%); qualified: 86 (25%); not qualified: 37 (10%); not enough personal knowledge to answer: 144 (42%).
Parker: Well-qualified: 5 (1%); qualified: 21 (6%); not qualified: 124 (36%); not enough personal knowledge to answer: 193 (56%).
Schrader: Well-qualified: 127 (37%); qualified: 57 (17%); not qualified: 111 (32%); not enough personal knowledge to answer: 48 (14%).
State Court Judge
Bratton was appointed to the bench in 2014 by Deal, and handily won his first election to post in 2016.
Bratton served in the U.S. Navy before embarking on his legal career as an assistant prosecutor with the Walton County DA’s office, moving to the Gwinnett solicitors general’s office before going into civil practice as a litigator.
He is a graduate of Georgia State University School of Law and joined the bar in 2003.
Miller is currently a supervising attorney with the Gwinnett solicitor’s office. Prior to that he had a solo Lawrenceville practice largely focused on criminal law.
He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and joined the bar in 2006.
The poll results:
Bratton: Well-qualified: 184 (54%); qualified: 63 (18%); not qualified: 11 (3%); not enough personal knowledge to answer: 85 (25%).
Miller: Well-qualified: 21 (6%); qualified: 68 (20%); not qualified: 94 (27%); not enough personal knowledge to answer: 160 (47%).