Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp. (Photo: John Disney/ ALM) Gov. Brian Kemp. (Photo: John Disney/ ALM)

The newly organized Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission sent Gov. Brian Kemp shortlists Thursday for judicial openings in three circuits.

Nominees are now on the governor’s desk to fill vacancies in the Coweta, Macon and Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit Superior Courts. They could become some of the governor’s first judicial appointments since taking office in January.

The Coweta Judicial Circuit vacancy was created by the resignation of Judge Jack Kirby. Kirby retired at the end of January after a 40-year legal career. He was appointed to the Superior Court in 2006.

The Macon Judicial Circuit opening comes from the resignation of Judge Edgar W. Ennis Jr. He also retired at the end of January after 11 years in that job and 44 years of law practice.

The Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit spot will fill the seat of Judge Gail Flake. In 1993, then-Gov. Zell Miller appointed her to that post. Flake is retiring from the bench after a 42-year legal career.

The Governor’s Office will contact candidates to schedule interviews, the JNC said. Kemp will then choose new judges from the following the shortlists:

For the Coweta Judicial Circuit:

  • Nina Markette Baker, solicitor general, State Court of Troup County
  • Sarah Stimac Japour, senior assistant district attorney, Coweta Judicial Circuit
  • Jeffrey M. Todd, partner, Lewis, Taylor & Todd

For the Macon Judicial Circuit:

  • Connie L. Williford, the Law Offices of Connie L. Williford
  • Jeffery O. Monroe, judge, State Court of Bibb County
  • Stuart E. Walker, partner, Martin Snow

For the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit:

  • Dax E. Lopez, judge, State Court of DeKalb County
  • Stacey K. Hydrick, judge, State Court of DeKalb County
  • Shondeana Crews Morris, judge, State Court of DeKalb County, Traffic Division