CANTON — Michelle Homier knew as a little girl that she wanted to someday become a lawyer so she could help make the world a little fairer and ensure that justice prevailed.
Not only did Homier achieve her dream of entering the legal field, but she exceeded it by recently being elected as the newest judge on the Cherokee County State Court. Though she will be sworn-in in December, she will not take her seat on the bench until January.
“I didn’t actively decide to become a lawyer until I was in my last year of college,” Homier recalled. “When I did, my mother reminded me that that’s what I always talked about doing since I was probably 8 years old.”
The State Court handles misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic offenses and civil actions not within the exclusive jurisdiction of Superior Court.
Presently a prosecutor in the Cherokee County Solicitor’s Office, where she has worked for four years after four prior years in the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office, Homier threw her hat into the ring last May. Not only was the race her first election, but she said it was also the first campaign she had ever actively participated in.
On July 31, Homier took 18,938 votes, or 52.5 percent of the vote, to edge out Canton attorney Jeff Rusbridge in replacing long-time State Court Judge C.J. Gober. Gober, who served 18 years, decided not to seek re-election.
She will join Judges Allen Dee Morris and Alan Jordan on the state court bench.
Homier, 34, grew up in Woodstock and graduated from Sequoyah High School in 1996 before attending Georgia Tech, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history, technology and society in 1999.
She attended law school at the University of Georgia. After graduation in 2003, she worked as a case clerk with Alston and Bird in Atlanta.
During the campaign, Homier said she knocked on about 1,800 doors in a grassroots effort to garner votes. She said she also went to farmers markets and various community events in a campaign that the county had likely never witnessed.
Raised by Jon Holbrook, a mailman, and, Jan Holbrook, a school teacher, she credits her victory to connecting with average, working people, as opposed to relying on the support of professional groups.
“I wanted to connect to people that I would be representing, not just the local attorney or local politicians,” said Homier.
“I consider myself pretty much an everyday people kind of person. I grew up lower middle-class. I was the first person in my family to go to college on the traditional route. My mother had three degrees, but didn’t get any of them until she practically had teenagers.”
During the campaign, her main platform issues were addressing addiction among first offenders to cut down on repeat offenders, whom she said make up half of all DUI cases in Cherokee County, and working to bring a mental health court to the county. She said she also wanted to allow community service instead of traffic fines in hardship cases.
“I was seeing just a real lack of offering opportunities, until we had spent a significant amount of time and money on individuals,” she said of hardship cases.
The thing Homier said she likes most about the practice of law is the uniqueness that each case brings.
“There is always some nuance to a particular case,” she said. “And there is always the fact that the parties are usually different. Sometimes you see someone who has had a case before but generally in a lot of cases you’re prosecuting a different individual or representing a different individual.”
Homier and her husband and college sweetheart, Tony Homier, live in the Great Sky community in Canton with their two children, Riley, 5, and Paleith, 2.
Homier is a member of the Blue Ridge Bar Association and the American Bar Association and is admitted to practice before the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court and all lower Georgia courts.
She said she will keep her campaign promise to allow citizens to email her with any questions or concerns that do not relate to a particular case. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE MICHELLE HOMIER FILE
* PARTY: No affiliation
* Profession: Lawyer
* Residence: Canton
* EDUCATION: B.A., Georgia Tech; J.D., UGA
* FAMILY: Husband, Tony Homier; two children
* CHURCH: Woodstock First Baptist and Hickory Log First Baptist