One of the most important facts that a voter in Greene County needs to know about this election is that the incumbent, LaVerne Ogletree, has been in office for 38 years! That is correct, almost 4 decades as the Probate Court Judge as well as the Chief Magistrate Judge. Part of the reason for this excessive term in office is she has basically had nobody to challenge her in the 9 + times she has run for office.
One may discuss how good of a job she has done or how nice she is, and odds are many people know her personally. The problem is, there are some very serious issues that come up when you spend this much time on the bench or in any elected office. During the past 38 years Ms. Ogletree, with a 100% level of probability, has developed various relationships, friendships, biases, likes, dislikes, and other non-neutral attitudes towards the various attorneys and individuals who have come before her. This analysis must also take into account the three plus capacities she has: Probate Court Judge, Chief Magistrate Court Judge, and Municipal Court Judge! This too is all being performed in a county with a population of 17,000 +/-, where she also grew up! One has to ask, how can a life long resident of such a small county NOT have developed bias towards Plaintiffs and Defendants who have come before you in three different courtroom settings. The answer is simple, it is not possible, and is one of the strongest examples in favor of term limits for elected officials.
Judges must maintain neutrality while sitting on the bench hearing a case. A judge must make decisions based upon the law, not a relationship or friendship with the parties that is the result of 38 years on the bench and several other years working in the courthouse as Judge Ogletree has done. A strong legal background and neutrality should be a requirement of any judiciary, especially in small communities like Greene County.
Mr. Eagleton did not grow up in Greene County Georgia, and is not a political insider, but rather a professional breath of fresh air that is desperately needed in Greene County Probate Court. Simply put, 38 years is way too long for anyone to be in elected office at any level. It is time to put a strong legal education and background in the Probate Court with the election of Stephen Eagleton.
Vote with a mail in ballot on April 27th or in person on June 9th.