PTC Judge Stephen Ott throws hat in ring for state court judge
Local attorney Stephen Ott has announced he will seek election as Fayette County State Court Judge in the July 2012 non-partisan election.
New State Court Judge Carla Wong McMillian will be facing her first election then, as she was appointed to the bench in August 2010 by Gov. Sonny Perdue after her predecessor, Fletcher Sams, was appointed to an open slot as superior court judge for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, which includes Fayette.
Ott, who has served as the Peachtree City Municipal Court Judge for the past four years, said in a press release that he wants to use the experience in state court in part by reducing costs and also helping young offenders “better themselves, rather than just collecting their money and sending them on their way.”
“I believe a judge should advance the causes of the law — such as providing educational opportunities, community service for the county, and institute programs that are designed to prevent repeat offenders,” Ott added.
Ott said one of his programs in Peachtree City has resulted in nearly 10,000 hours of community service time being spent clearing and improving the city.
Ott noted that in Peachtree City he has cut costs by reducing the amount of time police officers spend in the courtroom, along with other reductions in paper and printing costs.
Ott said his experience as both a prosecutor and defense attorney will help him as judge, along with his experience in civil cases typically heard in state court such as contract and injury claims.
“I believe a judge sits as the public representation of our court,” Ott said. “It is the interaction with the judge in the courtroom that most shapes a person’s impression of the court. Win or lose, each person who appears in a courtroom must leave believing that have had an opportunity to be heard and had the opportunity for a fair hearing or our justice system will erode.”
A 1992 graduate of of the Georgia State University College of Law, Ott came to Fayette County in 1995 to practice law. He was appointed as municipal court judge of Peachtree City in 2006.
Ott has served two terms as president of the Fayette County Bar Association, and is active in Kiwanis International, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, and Pike County Chamber of Commerce (his law firm has a location in Zebulon as well as Perimeter Center). He has served on the Board of Directors for the Fayette County YMCA, Fayette County Counsel on Domestic Violence, and the American Cancer Society as Community Ambassador. He received the Chief Justice Award for Community Service in 2000.
Ott earned his undergraduate degree from Mercer University. He is married and has a 16-year-old son. They live in unincorporated Fayette County.