Judge jones

Judge Jones -- The case is assigned to Judge Steve C. Jones, who was appointed to the federal bench in 2010 by President Obama.  Prior to that, Judge Jones served as a state-level judge in Athens for 18 years, serving 16 years as a Superior Court judge.  Judge Jones sits in Atlanta.

You can read more about Judge Jones’s background and judicial philosophy in the Athens Banner-Herald article here.  

Magistrate Judge Johnson

Magistrate Judge Johnson -- As typically happens in complex federal cases, Judge Jones has temporarily assigned this case to a federal magistrate judge to work out early administrative issues.  Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson was appointed in March 2002 by the federally appointed judges that make up the Northern District.  Judge Johnson sits in Rome.  

Magistrate judges are appointed to assist district court judges in the performance of their duties and will often handle complex cases early in litigation while administrative matters are being worked through.  Judge Johnson does not have the authority to make final rulings but will instead issue a Report and Recommendation to Judge Jones, who can summarily accept or reject Judge Johnson’s recommendation or make his own findings and issue his own ruling.