Clayton County has assembled what some call a ‘Dream Team’ of magistrate judges

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Clayton County’s magistrate court is made of nine judges who all happen to be African American. This is pretty different from any other magistrate bench in the country.

The magistrate court’s Chief Judge Keisha Wright Hill is proud of her exceptional team.

“They are phenomenal. They’re hardworking, and they are fair,” Hill said.

This is the first time in Clayton County’s history that there has been an all-African American magistrate bench.


Hill had the difficult task of selecting the judges. She chose the eight women and one man because of what each could bring to the bench. Race was not a factor.

“There were numerous applicants, and I chose the best. And this is what we have,” Hill said.

Clayton County is a minority-majority area, and the bench reflects that.

“I think we will be able to better serve the community that has evolved over time,” Judge Onyema Farrey said.

The team has a clear set of goals for the court. They want magistrate court to be more efficient. They want to dispense justice fairly. Keep people in jail who need to be and release those who don’t.

“I think that our community has not been fairly represented. And I think that is one of the things we set out to do,” Judge Latrevia Kates-Johnson said.

The judges’ top priority is keeping the community safe.

“I love this county, so I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that it stays safe,” Hill said.