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GBI Director Vic Reynolds speaks at a Cobb County Republican Women’s meeting in September.

Editor’s note: As part of the MDJ’s year-end coverage, we are recapping the top 10 local stories of 2019 as chosen by MDJ staff.

In February, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds was tapped to lead the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Four months later, Joyette Holmes, formerly Cobb’s chief magistrate judge, would be named to fill his shoes.

Both were appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp.

A former police officer, chief magistrate judge, prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, Reynolds now leads a staff of more than 900. His office also oversees a large crime lab and he serves as the medical examiner for 154 of Georgia’s 159 counties.

At the time of his appointment, Kemp called Reynolds a “courageous leader with unmatched experience,” and said the former district attorney had led efforts to dismantle gangs and protect local families from crime and violence.

John Melvin, Cobb’s assistant district attorney, stepped in as interim district attorney in February and served until Holmes officially stepped into her new role on July 1.

Holmes had been the first woman and the first African American to serve as Cobb’s chief magistrate judge upon being appointed to fill the vacant role by the Cobb Superior Court in 2015. She made the same history in her role as district attorney.

Kemp said Holmes’ experience as a prosecutor and in running large agencies, including her oversight of the magistrate court staff of more than 70, led to his decision to appoint her.

“I’m going to be picking people who are competent in running an agency, that can move government along and make it more efficient, follow the laws that we have and not try to, certainly in a DA’s instance, try to make laws,” Kemp said at the time.

Prior to being appointed as the chief magistrate judge, Holmes served as a prosecutor under Reynolds and Cobb County Solicitor Barry Morgan. Holmes also operated and served clients in private practice in the Law Office of Joyette Holmes.

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