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|Chief Magistrate Judge Phinia Aten|
Judge Phinia Aten is the Chief Judge of the Magistrate Court of Rockdale County. When she was elected to this position in 2012, Judge Aten brought a distinguished track record as a trial attorney and invested community stakeholder with her. She has served as an adjunct college professor, bar association president and executive board member of several professional and civic organizations, who spearheaded important legal education and training initiatives for lawyers and non-lawyers. In addition, Judge Aten has traveled the globe as a guest speaker and lecturer on litigation techniques and substantive legal matters.
Judge Aten is the recipient of numerous honors, including Outstanding Citizen Recognition by the Georgia Secretary of State, 2012 Top Lawyer Recognition by On Common Ground Newspaper, the 2011 Outstanding Community Service Award from the Conyers Art Conservatory and C.J. Hicks Elementary School World Class Support Recognition, among others.
Judge Aten earned her law degree and a certificate of sports law from Tulane University in New Orleans and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Wayne State University in Detroit. She was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1998, and primarily handled criminal and civil litigation matters for 14 years as a private trial attorney. Her professional and academic affiliations have included the Council of Magistrate Court Judges, Georgia Next Generation Courts Commission, Rockdale Bar Association, NewRock Legal Society, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, Gate City Bar Association, Lawyers Club of Atlanta, Atlanta Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Bar Association and Golden Key National Honors Society.
The Magistrate Court was established in 1983 by the Georgia Legislature and replaced the former Justice of the Peace System. This is a court of inquiry with the primary responsibility to determine the sufficiency of evidence.
Services administered from department include: civil claims, garnishments, and abandoned motor vehicles of $15,000 or less, dispossessory writs (evictions), distress warrants, ordinance violations, issuance of bad check citations, applications for and issuance of arrest and search warrants, bad check citation and misdemeanor bad check warrant hearings, and first appearance and committal hearings.
No jury trials are held in Magistrate Court. Appeals from this court are made to the Superior and State Courts.
The Chief Magistrate Court Judge is elected to serve a four-year term. The Chief Magistrate Court Judge is Phinia Aten.
Offices: 945 Court Street, Conyers, Georgia 30012
Courtroom: 948 Bank Street (same building)
Post Office Box 289
Conyers, Georgia 30012
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday