Georgia Governor Announces Five Appointments To State’s Superior Courts

On Thursday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced five appointments to the Superior Courts across the state. 

The appointments include Jephson Bendinger to the Coweta County Judicial Circuit vacancy created by HB 243, Joseph Dent to the Dougherty Judicial Circuit vacancy created by HB 77, Alice Benton to the Atlanta Judicial Circuit created by the retirement of the Honorable Judge Henry Newkirk, Kenneth Smith to the Macon Judicial Circuit vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Judge Howard Simms, and Samir Patel to the Cherokee Judicial Circuit vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Jeffrey Watkins to the Court of Appeals.

Jephson “Jep” Bendinger currently serves as “Chief Assistant District Attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit, a position he has held since 2021. He previously worked as Senior Assistant District Attorney. Prior to these roles, he served as Senior Assistant District Attorney for the Major Case Unit/Trial Line in the Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office, Senior Assistant District Attorney for the Trial Division/Public Integrity Unit in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, assistant district attorney of the Coweta Judicial Circuit – Troup County, and special assistant district attorney/apprentice for the Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office. Bendinger earned a bachelor’s in History from Auburn University and a J.D. from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law,” a press release from Kemp’s office explained. 

Joseph Dent currently works as “Solo Practitioner and Mediator at Joseph W. Dent, P.C. Previously, he worked as both an associate and partner for Watson Spence LLP. Dent has practiced civil litigation his entire career, with concentrations in insurance defense, personal injury, collections/creditor’s rights/bankruptcy, zoning and land use, and real estate and commercial litigation. He has also worked in employment law, fiduciary litigation, criminal law, and mediation services. Dent earned his bachelor’s in Political Science and Public Administration from Georgia College and a J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law,” the press release said. 

Alice Benton is the “owner of Benton Law, LLC, a practice focused on family law and divorce. Previously, she worked for Bodke, Ramsey, Andrews, Winograd & Wildstein, P.C.; Emily S. Bair & Associates; Johnson & Montgomery; and Swift, Currie, McGhee & Heirs. She also worked in the Office of the Fulton County District Attorney; the Office of the Cobb County Solicitor General; and the Office of the Forsyth County Solicitor General. Active in her community, Benton is a member of the Family Law Section of the State Bar, a member of the Cathedral of St. Philip, a member of the Atlanta Junior League, and a member of the National Charity League. She earned a bachelor’s in History from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law,” the press release continued. 

Kenneth “Ken” Smith is “the founder and trial attorney for the Law Offices of Ken Smith, LLC, a position he has held since 2015. Previously, he worked as managing partner and trial attorney for Fox & Smith, LLC; associate trial attorney for Dozier Law Firm, LLC; and law clerk and associate attorney for Adams, Hemingway & Wilson, LLP. He is active in his community, serving on the Board of Directors for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Georgia, Chairman of the Board of his Home Owner’s Association, and as a member of Ingleside Baptist Church. He earned both a B.B.A. and an M.B.A. from Mercer University’s Stetson School of Business and Economics and his J.D. from Mercer’s Walter F. George School of Law,” the press release said.

FInally, the press release explained that Samir Patel has “served as District Attorney for Bartow and Gordon Counties in the Cherokee Judicial Circuit since his appointment by Governor Kemp in 2021. Previously, he served as associate attorney of White & Choate, as Municipal Court Judge of Euharlee, Georgia, and as an assistant public defender for the Georgia Public Defender’s Standards Council for the Cherokee Judicial Circuit. He previously served as a Part Time Instructor at ITT Technical Institute in Kennesaw, teaching criminal law, constitutional law, and ethics. Patel earned his bachelor’s in Information Sciences and a B.B.A. from East Tennessee State University and his J.D. from Georgia State University College of Law.”

D & B Staff

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