COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Columbus Council appointed two local attorneys to serve as full-time Recorder’s Court judges.

Susan Henderson and Alonza Whitaker were sworn in Wednesday morning in front of their families, friends and colleagues by the Chief Judge of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, Art Smith.

Judges Henderson and Whitaker have decades of experience in public service. They previously served in the Muscogee County District Attorney’s Office. Henderson specialized in prosecuting crimes against children and Whitaker served as the Chief Assistant District Attorney. Henderson and Whitaker continued practicing law in their private practices.

With these big changes to the court system, both judges are confident they will have a smooth transition into their roles.

“The schedule is new to me,” said Judge Henderson. “The work is not. I’ve always taken it very seriously. I’m very excited about the team that we have. Judge Ranieri has already implemented some amazing changes in the recorder’s court and on the horizon, there’s going to be a lot more to come.”

“We’re looking at how we can better serve,” said Judge Whitaker. “I think with this unified effort and in three Recorder’s Court judges, some positive changes will be made. The people are going to benefit from it.”

Recorder’s Court Chief Judge Ranieri mentioned efficiency is a top priority for the courts.
With the addition of judges, Ranieri expects the preliminary hearings will separate from traffic court cases – allowing judges to move their dockets quicker and process cases more effectively.

“They both bring a sense of humility to this court that I think is really refreshing to see, to know that there are people that feel very humble about their work and their job and are very committed to it,” said Chief Judge Ranieri. “So I’m excited about all of it, both personally and professionally.”