Henry County is adding more judges as the area’s population grows. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Henry adding judges as caseloads increase in fast-growing county

Henry County is adding more judges in an effort to keep up with increasing judicial needs born out of the south metro community’s rapid growth.

The Henry County Commission recently approved three associate magistrate judges to make it easier for the county’s police department to seek warrants — especially those for blood tests of suspected drunk drivers — between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. The additional personnel will keep the court staffed by providing more on-call judges.

“This will allow us to go on a nightly rotation,” Henry’s Chief Magistrate Judge Martin Jones told board members. He said he expects judges to issue two to three blood-test search warrants per night.

Henry is the second-fastest growing county in metro Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission. After decades of being a rural hamlet just outside of Atlanta, its population boomed at the turn of the century. Between April 2017 and April 2018, the county added about 5,800 new residents, a 2.53 percent increase over the April 2017 population of 229,000, the ARC said.

This is the second time in two years that Henry has added more judges. In 2018, judges Holly Veal and Danielle Roberts were sworn in to preside over civil and criminal matters after regular hours.

The three new associate magistrate judges Henry cleared recently are Santana Tarail Flanigan, Maritza S. Ramos and Sheila Tyler. Each will be seated July 1 for a four-year term

Flanigan is a longtime resident of Henry County and school board attorney for the Rockdale County school system while Ramos runs a civil practice in the community, Jones said. Tyler is a former classmate of Jones’ at Georgia State University.

“We were the first class at Georgia State University Law School,” he said of Tyler. “She’s got wonderful experience, especially several years in the U.S Attorney’s Office.”