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Magistrate Court Judges

Chief Magistrate of Cobb County

Hon. Brendan F. Murphy

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Judge Brendan Murphy

Judge Brendan F. Murphy was appointed Chief Magistrate of Cobb County by the Superior Court bench of the Cobb Judicial Circuit in July 2019 and elected to a full term in June 2020.  As Chief Magistrate, he is responsible for all judicial and administrative functions of the Magistrate Court of Cobb County which operates 24 hours/day, 365 days/year with a staff of approximately 75 people, including 20 total judges.  Judge Murphy is dedicated to ensuring access to justice at “The People’s Court.”

Judge Murphy began his legal career handling civil cases with the Marietta law firm now known as Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers, LLC.  There, he was an attorney in the Education Law Group where he counseled metro Atlanta school districts—including the Cobb County and Marietta City School Districts—on a wide variety of legal matters.

Committed to public service, Judge Murphy left his career in private practice to serve the people of Cobb County as a prosecutor.  He first worked as an Assistant Solicitor-General in the Cobb Solicitor’s Office.  There, in addition to full courtroom responsibilities, he also served as lead prosecutor for the Domestic Violence Court program.

Judge Murphy subsequently moved to the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, serving as an Assistant District Attorney and later as a Senior Assistant District Attorney in the Trial Division.  At the DA’s Office, he was a strong supporter of the Circuit’s successful accountability court programs.

Judge Murphy’s service extends beyond the bench.  He was appointed to the Board of Commissioners of the Magistrates Retirement Fund in February 2021 and Chief Justice Harold D. Melton’s Judicial COVID-19 Task Force in May 2020.  He also currently serves as Vice Chair of the Council of Magistrate Court Judges Legislative Committee.

Judge Murphy previously sat on the Board of Trustees of the Cobb County Bar Association where he served three terms as Parliamentarian.  He has been a volunteer judge for the annual High School Mock Trial competition and was a Mentor for the State Bar of Georgia’s Transition Into Law Practice Program.

A proud “Double Dawg,” Judge Murphy is a two-time graduate of the University of Georgia.  He received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science, attending on the Foundation Fellowship—a full academic, merit scholarship.  At the School of Law where he earned his Juris Doctor, Judge Murphy was elected President of the Student Bar Association.

Brendan is married to his wife Sarah, a board-certified clinical pharmacist.  They are the proud parents of two busy children.  The Murphys reside in East Cobb where they attend and volunteer at the Catholic Church of St. Ann.

FULL-TIME JUDGES

Judge Sonja N. Brown

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Judge Sonja Brown headshot

Judge Sonja N. Brown began her judicial service in January 2021 after being appointed by Chief Magistrate Judge Brendan F. Murphy.
Before taking the bench, Judge Brown served as a Chief Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney and the Director of Community Affairs at the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. There, she built and lead the Crime Strategies and Community Partnerships Unit. 
Prior to her service at the DeKalb County DA’s Office, Judge Brown was the Deputy Chief Assistant Solicitor-General in the DeKalb County Solicitor-General’s Office where she headed up the Special Victims Unit and was responsible for community outreach.  Judge Brown has also served as Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit where she prosecuted in the Crimes Against Women and Children Unit after serving as a Community Prosecutor and Director of the Offender Re-entry Program. Before entering public service, Judge Brown began her legal career as an in-house corporate attorney.

Judge Brown has an extensive record of leadership in the legal profession and community at-large. A member of several bar associations, she is past President of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), the GABWA Foundation, Inc., and the National Black Prosecutors Association Foundation.  Judge Brown is also the current Chaplain of the National Bar Association, the Nation’s oldest and largest African-American Bar association, representing the interests of over 66,000 attorneys and judges. She has co-Chaired the DeKalb County Domestic Violence Task Force and sits on the Board of Trustees of the North Georgia United Methodist Conference and Board of Directors of Georgia Piedmont Technical College.

A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Judge Brown is an alumna of Clark Atlanta University and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. A resident of Cobb County for over 20 years and a proud aunt, she resides with her family in Kennesaw and attends Central United Methodist Church in Atlanta.  
 

Judge Michael E. McLaughlin

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Judge Michael McLaughlin headshot

Judge Michael McLaughlin is the Dean of the Cobb County Magistrate Court bench. After first being appointed in 1985, he has served continuously with six different Chief Magistrates. Judge McLaughlin has heard every type of case filed in Magistrate Court and routinely handles the Court’s busy civil calendars. 

In addition to his service on the bench, Judge McLaughlin ran a successful law firm for over 35 years. He has extensive experience in criminal law, and before taking the bench full-time, his practice most recently focused on family law and representing injured people. Judge McLaughlin is the co-author of Admissibility of Evidence in Civil Cases—a Manual for Georgia Trial Lawyers, which is updated and published annually. He has taught other judges through the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education and aspiring paralegals at Kennesaw State University. 

Judge McLaughlin is a member of the Cobb County Bar Association and the Council of Magistrate Court Judges. He is a graduate of Florida State University and John Marshall Law School. He has resided in East Cobb with his wife Michelle for over 30 years. The McLaughlins have two adult children and attend Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and the Catholic Church of St. Ann.

PART-TIME JUDGES

Judge Annamarie Baltz

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Judge Annamarie Baltz

Judge Annamarie Baltz grew up in Calhoun, Georgia, where her parents were both schoolteachers.  She earned a full academic President’s Scholarship to Georgia Tech and graduated with a B.S. in International Affairs and Modern Language in 2002.  She went on to study law at the University of Georgia School of Law and obtained her J.D. in 2005.  While in law school, Judge Baltz interned at the Family Violence Clinic and the Public Defender’s Office in Athens-Clarke County and spent her free time volunteering as an ESOL tutor in the community.

After graduating from law school, Judge Baltz worked as a Staff Attorney for the Hon. Toby Prodgers in Cobb County State Court.  At the conclusion of her clerkship, Judge Baltz accepted a position as an Assistant Solicitor-General in the Cobb County Solicitor’s Office.  Judge Baltz worked at the Solicitor’s Office for nine (9) years.  During that time, she prosecuted numerous misdemeanor and traffic cases in Cobb County, including domestic violence and driving under the influence.

Judge Baltz lives with her family in northwest Cobb County.  In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

Judge Alyssa Blanchard

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Judge Alyssa Blanchard

Judge Alyssa Blanchard is an attorney and partner at O’Dell, O’Neal, Hungerford, & Blanchard.  She focuses her practice exclusively in the area of family law, representing clients throughout Metro-Atlanta.

Before attending law school, Judge Blanchard received a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in English from Georgia State University in 2010. She then went on to attend Florida Coastal School of Law. While she was in law school, Ms. Blanchard completed a summer clerkship at the Cobb County Superior Court for the Hon. Robert E. Flournoy III, and she served another summer clerkship with a well-known Atlanta law firm. Each of these positions provided her with invaluable experience. She subsequently was awarded her Juris Doctor in 2014.

After graduation, Judge Blanchard became an attorney at a Georgia family law firm for which she had previously worked first as a paralegal and then as a law clerk, before joining O’Dell & O’Neal Attorneys. Ms. Blanchard is admitted to practice law before the state and federal courts of Georgia.

Actively involved in her profession and her community, Judge Blanchard participates in several legal and civic organizations including the State Bar of Georgia and the Cobb County Bar Association.  Judge Blanchard is a member of the Must Ministries Programs’ committee, the MUST Dance committee, the 2020 Cobb County Prayer Breakfast committee, the Board of the Marietta Area Council, the Board of the Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre, and the Kiwanis Club of Marietta. 

Judge Murphy previously appointed Judge Blanchard to the Cobb County Board of Ethics where she served until stepping down to accept her judicial appointment.  She has served as the chair of the Kiwanis Club of Marietta’s Club Satellite U40 and served on the Board of the Marietta Mentoring for Leadership.  Judge Blanchard was also a member of the 2018 Center for Family Resources Thanks for Giving committee.

Judge Blanchard is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Cobb and a member of the Cobb Chamber Young Professionals Steering Committee. She was recently recognized in the January 2020 issue of the Cobb Life Magazine on The Cobb Life List of “20 under 40.”  You can also find Judge Blanchard lending her voice to support the Strand Marietta’s Ole Opry.  Judge Blanchard resides in Vinings.

Judge Rita M. Cherry

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Judge Rita Cherry headshot

Judge Rita M. Cherry was reappointed to the Magistrate Court bench in 2020 after previously serving in 2015.

Judge Cherry received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Grambling State University and Juris Doctorate degree from John Marshall Law School. Her career began under the leadership and mentoring of the Hon. Leah Ward Sears, former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, for whom she clerked as an Intern.

During her career, Judge Cherry formed her own law firm where she represented clients in Employment and Labor cases. She served as a defense attorney with the Cobb County Circuit Defender’s office, representing indigent defendants in criminal cases.  Judge Cherry worked as an Assistant District Attorney with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and thereafter a Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of Atlanta where she litigated civil cases and constitutional issues on behalf of municipal government and officials.  Judge Cherry also taught law as an Adjunct Law Professor for Georgia Perimeter College.

Judge Cherry has been actively involved in organizations such as the American Bar Association, National Bar Association, National Employment Lawyers Association, Gate City Bar Association, Leadership Academy for Women of Color, the Language Institute of Atlanta, Smyrna Library Club and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is actively involved with her Church and serves as a mentor for young lawyers.  She is a resident of Smyrna.

Judge Charles Chesbro

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Judge Charles Chesbro

Charles Chesbro has been a Magistrate Judge for Cobb County since April 1990. Judge Chesbro graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso, in 1984, and earned his Juris Doctor from Georgia State University of College of Law, cum laude, in 1987. He is admitted to practice law in Georgia, Colorado and the District of Columbia. Judge Chesbro maintains a mediation practice in Cobb County in the areas of general, commercial, family law, and civil litigation.

He has been a state certified mediator in the Superior Court since the program's inception in 1993. Judge Chesbro is co-founder of the Cobb Justice Foundation, an organization providing civil representation for low-income individuals in Cobb County. He is past Chair of the Georgia Magistrate Court Council Research Committee, updating Magistrate Judges statewide on cases and changes in the law.

Judge Chesbro is an active faculty member of the Institute for Continuing Judicial Education, having taught courses in evidence, ethics, contracts, trial, injury, foreclosure and updating civil case law. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Kennesaw State University, teaching legal research, mock trial, and constitutional law courses. He has also taught Magistrate Court seminars for the public on Small Claims Court and Bad Check Claims.

Judge Toqeer Chouhan

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Judge Toqeer Chouhan headshot

Judge Toqeer Chouhan is a native and lifelong resident of Georgia.  

Mr. Chouhan earned his law degree from Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law and also has a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Kennesaw State University. Toqeer obtained his undergraduate degree in Business Administration with dual concentrations in Finance and Marketing from Berry College in Rome, GA.

He has been a member of the Georgia Bar since 2005 and is the managing partner of The Chouhan Law Firm, LLC in Cobb County. Through his private practice in Cobb County, Toqeer has extensive experience in business and corporate issues, as well general civil litigation, domestic relations, criminal, personal injury, and collections matters.  

He is an active member of the Cobb County Bar Association.  He is a resident of Smyrna.

Judge Louis Feingold

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Judge Louis Feingold

Louis Feingold was born in Camilla, GA. He received his undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Georgia and his law degree from Georgia State University College of Law. Judge Feingold currently practices at a large national collections law firm located in Marietta. He is a member in good standing in the State Bar of Georgia and the Cobb County Bar Association.

He has been a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Atlanta Bar Association and the Lawyers Club of Atlanta. Louis was involved for many years with Kids Chance, an organization which raises money for scholarships for the children of Georgia Workers who have been seriously injured in work related accidents. Judge Feingold and his wife, Susan, have three children and have resided in Cobb County for 17 years.

Judge Carrie Fiedler

Judge Carrie Fiedler has resided in Cobb County for about two decades. She received her Juris Doctor from the Georgia State University College of Law in 2006, Master of International Management from the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2000, and Bachelor of Arts from the American University of Paris in France in 1995.

Judge Fiedler maintains a private practice in Cobb County focused on family and juvenile law. She also serves as a mediator, arbitrator and guardian ad litem. Judge Fiedler has provided countless hours of pro bono work for the Spanish-language community and frequently volunteers with international exchange students and youth programs. Judge Fiedler speaks Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese.

Judge Don Hicks

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Judge Don Hicks

Donald Hicks has been a Magistrate Judge for Cobb County since 1987. Judge Hicks graduated from Emory University in 1974 and earned his law degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1980. He currently is practicing in the area of real estate foreclosure law at the firm of McCalla, Raymer, Padrick, Cobb, Nichols and Clark. Judge Hicks is a member of the Atlanta Track Club and USA Triathlon association. He is currently serves as a Trustee for the Atlanta Track Club Foundation.

Judge Jennifer M. Inmon

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Judge Jennifer M. Inmon

Jennifer Inmon received her B.A. in Business from Wittenberg University in 1992. She went on to receive her J.D. from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1995. Judge Inmon served as the law clerk for the Cobb County Magistrate Court and the Cobb County Drug Court from 1996 until 1999 when she was appointed Cobb County Magistrate Court Judge. She maintains a private law practice in Cobb County concentrating on corporate and business law.

Judge Inmon is currently a Seventh District Representative to the statewide Council of Magistrate Court Judges and frequently serves as a formal Mentor to new Magistrate Judges in Cobb County and beyond.  She is also an active member of the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association and volunteers for the Cobb County Youth Diversion Program, the Consequences of Crime Education Program, and Cobb County Family Resources.

Judge Quinn M. Kasper

A Gwinnett County native, Quinn McGill Kasper earned her B.A. in 2007 from Auburn University and her J.D in 2010 from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. She is admitted to practice in Georgia.  After working as the Senior Attorney with a national creditor’s rights law firm in Marietta, she currently practices with a statewide probate law firm.  Judge Kasper currently serves as the Vice President of the Council of Magistrate Court Judges.

Outside of practicing law, Judge Kasper is an active member of the Atlanta Chapter of the Gamma Phi Beta Alumni Association volunteering at various community events.  Judge Kasper, her husband, Sean, and her stepson have resided in Cobb County since 2012.

Judge Janné Y. McKamey

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Judge Janné Y McKamey

Judge Janné Y. McKamey has been licensed to practice law in Georgia and a Cobb County resident since 1993. She has extensive experience in legal compliance, contracts, domestic relations, collections and small business matters.

She earned her BA in Political Science with a minor in General Business from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville).

She was a recipient of the UT Freshman Alumni Scholarship and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Scholarship. While attending Tennessee, Judge McKamey was active in the UT Trackettes and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Zeta Phi Beta actively supported the Knoxville Ronald McDonald House where Judge McKamey was a regular volunteer.

Judge McKamey went on to receive her JD from North Carolina Central University School of Law (Durham), where she was awarded the James A. Martin Scholarship and the Am Jur Book Award for Torts. She was a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and served as its Vice-Justice during her attendance at NCCU.

Judge McKamey was in private practice for over a decade prior to entering the collections field as an attorney supervising the call center, garnishment and arbitration departments at Gerald E. Moore & Associates, PC in Marietta. While employed by Mr. Moore, Judge McKamey received her Tennessee law license in 2007. She went on to become Managing Attorney of Hollander Law Offices, LLC’s (Earth City, MO) Marietta Office until they closed their doors in 2009.

From October 2009 – September 2011, Judge McKamey was an Associate at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor. In September 2011, she went into private practice, focusing primarily on collections, Alternative Dispute Resolution, domestic relations, juvenile and contracts matters. In addition to her private practice, she was Of Counsel at the Molden Law Firm from 2014-2016, focusing on contracts, HOA collections and employment matters. Judge McKamey maintains her practice in Cobb County.

Judge McKamey is active in her community, serving as a volunteer at Holy Family Catholic Church, her daughter’s high school, Friends Against Domestic Violence in Cobb County, pro bono legal work through the Cobb Justice Foundation and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, DragonCon and the American Cancer Society. In her spare time, she enjoys her children, cooking, watching college football, science fiction genre media and events, and anything Disney.

Judge Amanda Perez

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Judge Amanda Perez headshot

Judge Amanda Perez has been an attorney practicing in Georgia since 2009. 

Judge Perez has handled domestic cases, civil litigation, immigration, and criminal defense—particularly specializing in matters where there can be some impact on immigration status. Her emphasis is on helping clients who are vulnerable navigate the legal system.

She has also served in several roles which are in frequent contact with the judicial system, such as probation officer, bail bondsman, process server, and real estate agent. In her private practice, Judge Perez also represented injured parties recovering unpaid labor, as well as negotiations for clients with their creditors.

Being a resident of Cobb County for more than 30 years, and a criminal justice graduate from Georgia State University, Judge Perez has had ties with Georgia nearly her entire life. She obtained her J.D. from John Marshall Law School. She is a member of AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association). In her spare time, she is a dedicated softball mom and motivator to her future baseball slugger. She is a resident of East Cobb.

Judge Tabitha Ponder

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Judge Tabitha Ponder

Judge Tabitha Ponder earned a B.S. degree in Psychology from Albany State University in 1996 and a J.D. from Mercer University School of Law in 1999.  She is the Founder and Managing Attorney of the Ponder Law Group, LLC and Ponder-Solomon Law Group, PC, where she practices throughout the State of Georgia.

Judge Ponder is recognized statewide for her expertise and commitment to improving access to justice.  She currently serves as the contracted Staff Attorney for the Georgia Judicial Council’s Access to Justice Committee under the leadership of Justice Charlie Bethel, and Judge Ponder was recently appointed to staff the Judicial Council’s new Ad Hoc Committee on Improving Community Access to Legal Resources. She was appointed to serve as Special Master for Cobb County Superior Court in 2017.  Judge Ponder also previously taught as an Adjunct Professor for seven years at Albany State University.

Judge Ponder is a member of the Georgia Bar Association and Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.  She also serves as a Board Member of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers as Vice President of the Leadership Academy.  Judge Ponder’s service also extends to the Cobb County Bar Association, Gate City Bar Association, the Cobb County Branch NAACP, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  She resides in Marietta with her family.

Judge John J. Strauss

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Judge John L. Strauss

John J. Strauss was appointed as a Cobb County Magistrate Court Judge in 2005. He received a BMME Degree from the University of Miami (FL) in 1975 and earned his Juris Doctor from the Atlanta Law School in 1980. Since 1982, he has been engaged in private practice, and is currently practicing in the areas of personal injury, domestic relations, landlord-tenant, general business litigation, and some criminal matters.

He has been a resident of Cobb County since 1985. In 1990, he was a recipient of the S. Philip Heiner Award for pro bono indigent defense, awarded by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. Judge Strauss is a professional trumpet player and a member of the Cobb Wind Symphony, a premier adult community band in Cobb County.

Judge Lee Tollison

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Judge Lee Tollison

Judge Lee Tollison is a Mississippi native who moved to Georgia to attend law school in 2008. Judge Tollison graduated from Mississippi State University in 2007 with a B.S. in Psychology. He went on to receive his J.D. from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2011. Judge Tollison currently practices at a property law firm specializing in landlord-tenant law. He is a member in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia.

SENIOR JUDGES

Judge Jonathan Marigliano

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Judge Jonathan Marigliano

Jonathan Marigliano earned his law degree Emory School of Law in 1996. He received his undergraduate degree in finance in 1992 from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Judge Marigliano began his legal career at Hall, Booth, Smith & Slover, PC in 1996 and was elected to the partnership in 2001. He co-founded the civil litigation firm of Slover, Prieto, Marigliano & Holbert, LLC in October, 2012.

Judge Marigliano represents injured parties, companies and individuals involved in business disputes and athletes, coaches and others involved in sports-related matters. He has lived in Atlanta since 1993 and Cobb County since 2009.

Outside of practicing law, Judge Marigliano has volunteered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Emory Board of Visitors, and the Shepherd Center. He also assists the Georgia Athletic & Entertainment Commission as an event official and judge at state-sanctioned mixed martial arts and boxing events, making sure all combat sport promotions are in compliance with state rules and regulations. He has also served as a professional scout for the Oakland Raiders for sixteen years.

Judge Timothy W. Wolfe

Timothy W. Wolfe serves as a Senior Magistrate. He was first appointed a Cobb County Magistrate Judge in December of 2005. Judge Wolfe has also served as a municipal court judge of Dunwoody and an associate municipal court judge of Smyrna. Judge Wolfe worked as an attorney in private practice in both the civil and criminal fields. In addition to serving as a judge, he conducts mediations for civil matters. Judge Wolfe received his B.A. in political science from Emory University in 1975 and his J.D. from Emory Law School in 1978.