LAWRENCEVILLE - In this case, experience was the operative word.
Officials announced late Tuesday that Robert D. Walker Jr. - a Gwinnett attorney and former military judge - has been hired as Magistrate Court's newest authority.
Walker fills a vacancy on the Magistrate Court bench left by former Chief Judge Warren Davis, who was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to Gwinnett County Superior Court in December.
Walker was chosen from a list of 24 experienced attorneys.
Walker's appointment makes him Magistrate Court's 26th judge. The ever-busy court handled more than 70,000 criminal and civil cases last year.
All told, Walker brings more than 17 years of legal experience to the bench, said Chief Judge George Hutchinson.
Hutchinson and Superior Court officials were won over by Walker's "service to his country, his service to the community as a prosecutor and his service to the bar as a private attorney," Hutchinson said.
The new judge brings a diverse resume to Magistrate Court.
He formerly served as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Air Force, where he was a major.
Following his military tenure, Walker served as an assistant district attorney in Fulton County, before moving to a private practice in Gwinnett.
For years, Walker has represented indigent criminal defendants in Gwinnett and has "been called on many times to handle some of the most difficult cases," Hutchinson said.