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Superior Court judge ditches robes for dancing competition

Special Photo Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell Conner (center) and family celebrated her victory in the American Cancer Society's "Dance with the Stars of Atlanta" competition last weekend. The event aimed to raise $100,000 for cancer research and support programs.

Special Photo Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell Conner (center) and family celebrated her victory in the American Cancer Society's "Dance with the Stars of Atlanta" competition last weekend. The event aimed to raise $100,000 for cancer research and support programs.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Judge Melodie Snell Conner disrobed last weekend, then danced in front of hundreds of eager onlookers.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Conner's performance was part of the American Cancer Society's "Dance with the Stars of Atlanta," an event held during their annual Crusader's Ball Against Cancer. En route to taking first place in the competition, Conner's "disrobing" was quite literal -- Gwinnett's first-ever female Superior Court judge took to the dance floor in her traditional workplace attire, pretending to frown upon a "random" man dancing in her courtroom.

When he wouldn't relinquish, she did, ripping off her robe and revealing a flashy low-cut dress as the duo launched into their long-rehearsed routine.

The performance got her first prize, if not a few odd looks around the justice center.

"I haven't gotten too much flak yet," Conner said with a hearty laugh. "There were a few lawyers there that night and they were laughing. It was a little risque I guess."

Risque maybe, but for a good cause.

Lucy Faxon, the American Cancer Society's income manager for distinguished events, said donations from last Saturday's event "continue to come in" and have not yet been totalled. The goal was to raise $100,000.

"We are thrilled with the turnout for this year's Dance with the Stars of Atlanta," Faxon said. "The gala, in its 37th year, did not disappoint with a superb dance competition and an exciting live auction where two trips to Italy were purchased."

Added Lisa Allee, event co-chair: "(The dancers) did a superb job in entertaining and delighting the crowd with their elegance, silliness and sexiness."

The ballroom dancing competition -- organized much like the similarly titled TV show -- was not something to be entered into lightly. Conner said she and her partner had practiced together twice a week since July.

Some of the moves were pretty easy to pick up. Some, well ... weren't quite in her jurisdiction.

"It wasn't super hard at the beginning, the basic steps," Conner said. "But there toward the end, some of the things that he was trying to incorporate into the routine were very hard. I'm 50 years old."

Conner, who has been a judge in Gwinnett since 1998, had a huge following at last weekend's event. A part of the Snell family that is the inspiration for the city of Snellville's name, everyone from husband and kids to aunts and cousins showed up.

By the end of the show, a shocking verdict was in.

Said Conner: "My oldest son was like, 'Wow mom, I didn't know you had that in you.'"