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Fifth judge, first woman D.A. announced

District Attorney Benjamin D. Coker of Upson County was recently named the fifth judge for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, a position created by the passage of House Bill 28 during the 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Coker was selected for the judgeship by Gov. Brian Kemp and for the first time in the history of the Griffin Judicial Circuit, a woman was selected as the chief prosecuting attorney. Marie G. Broder was Coker’s chief assistant when he served as District Attorney. Coker said he is leaving the position in good hands. Coker has successfully prosecuted numerous high-profile cases since being elected circuit district attorney in 2017, including the 34-year-old cold case murder of Timothy Coggins, a Pike County man. Coker’s overall conviction rate is better than 95 percent. During his tenure, Coker assisted law enforcement agencies with investigations, including wire taps and racketeering cases. As D.A., he handled hundreds of asset forfeitures, removing hundreds of thousands of dollars from criminals and distributing the funds to law enforcement and victims of crimes. Prior to being elected as D.A., Coker was an assistant district attorney and office manager of both the Pike and Upson County offices. He said he considers it an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of the entire circuit. Coker and his wife Christy reside with their four children in Upson County. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Georgia and received his law degree from the Georgia State University School of Law. He plans to set up his judicial chambers in the Upson County courthouse. Broder has served as a law clerk and associate, assistant district attorney, and office manager and she currently serves as Chief Assistant District Attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit. Broder and her husband, Karl, reside in Griffin with their daughter. The circuit is still one judge short. Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge Robert ‘Mack’ Crawford submitted his resignation from the bench as part of a felony theft plea deal in which the judge received probation but no jail time. Crawford, whose term expires in December, agreed to retire and promised not to run for re-election or apply for, run or serve as a judge in any court during his 12-month probationary period. That leaves one judge slot still open for the governor to fill in the Griffin Circuit. Coker joins remaining Superior Court Senior Judge Christopher Edwards, Judge Fletcher Sams and Judge Scott Ballard on the Griffin Circuit bench.

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