COVINGTON — Newton County native Billy Waters has been named the new Covington Municipal Court judge. The City Council interviewed four candidates on Tuesday after receiving 20 applications for the position.
The position became open after former Municipal Court Judge Steve Hathorn resigned in February after the Covington court clerk filed a personnel complaint accusing him of making prejudiced comments toward black defendants.
Human Resources generalist Amanda Edge said the candidates were screened according to the following criteria:
• Number of years in practice
• Local presence in Covington or Newton County
• Judicial experience as they actually served in these categories: bench, government prosecution or defense and private practice.
“We felt his ties to the community and his experience as a past juvenile judge, he was the best fit at this time for the city,” Councilman Chris Smith said. “It was a unanimous vote although all candidates interviewed very well, we knew Billy was the right choice.”
Waters was a former chief judge of Juvenile Court for the Alcovy Judicial Circuit, presiding over cases involving deprivation, unruly and delinquent juveniles and traffic offenses for 11 years. He also served as the municipal judge in Walnut Grove for two years.
Since graduating John Marshall Law School, Waters has practiced law for more than 30 years. In the community, he serves on the board of directors for Willing Helpers Medical Clinic, Solid Rock Baptist Church, Georgia Legal Services Program and Newton Reads.
Waters is also a partner in Ballard, Stephenson & Waters Covington Attorneys at Law and focuses on domestic relations cases, personal injury and general civil litigation.