Monte Touts Experience in Screven County Magistrate Judge Race

Tony Monte is running for Chief Magistrate in Screven County. The office is an important one as it is responsible for first appearance hearings for criminal charges, good behavior warrants, garnishments, small civil claims up to $15,000, evictions, abandoned vehicles, and other similar matters. 

Monte is asking voters to give him the opportunity to serve because he wants to do what is right for the people of Screven County. 

Monte’s time in Screven County dates back to his early childhood. His dad was in the Army and stationed at Hunter at the time he was born. They lived in Screven County until his father’s military service ended and they moved to New York. That lasted until he was 13, at which time his family returned to Screven County where Monte attended both middle and high school. 

He went on to attend classes at Ogeechee Tech, only to realize that his interest in the medical field wasn’t what he initially thought. In deciding where his career path would take him, Monte worked for the Screven County Roads & Bridges Department before becoming a certified corrections officer in 2000. 

In 2004, he went to Armstrong State University to become a POST-certified Peace Officer and work for the Screven County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy. He rose to the rank of corporal within eight months and, in an effort to continue his growth, moved to the Sylvania Police Department in 2006 where he worked until he began working for the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office in 2013. There, Monte worked patrol, criminal investigations, and he now works with the Drug Suppression Unit. He’s married to Kimberly Potter Monte and they have three children – Mason, Breanna, and Cayden. 

Monte says it’s his experience in law enforcement that has equipped him with the tools needed to work as a Chief Magistrate Judge.

“I’ve done lots of different types of investigations and I’ve actually been in a lot of trials. I’ve worked as the lead agent on a murder case, was able to successfully work that with a result of two people in prison for life. I’ve had training with phone analysis, I’ve written hundreds of search warrants and I’ve yet to have one suppressed or thrown out. I’ve worked everything from robberies, rapes, child molestations, bank fraud, murders – and I have a lot of understanding of how all of this works. I worked as a jailer part-time when I was a corrections officer, I’ve served civil processes, I’ve done courtroom security,” Monte said.

Among his priorities is a plan to work on informing the public on what the Chief Magistrate does. “I would like to do public workshops, to better inform the public of what that office is capable of doing. I don’t think Judge Griner has done a bad job at all, he’s been there 20 years unopposed, but there are new ideas and new modernized technologies that can help with the office operations. I would like to see some social media stuff and more than a generic website,” he said. Monte also said he would prioritize publishing a biannual report about what the office is doing and what kind of cases are making their way through. 

As far enhanced technologies go, Monte says he’d like to mimic what Effingham County does with their online warrant program, which allows law enforcement officers to submit arrest warrants electronically to a judge, expediting the process without having to arrange an in-person meeting for a signature. 

Also on his platform for ensuring the office is operating efficiently, Monte said he’d like to have a constable appointed for serving magistrate court paperwork.

“My reason for that is to improve the services and decrease the workload of the Sheriff’s office that will free up one of their personnel from serving paperwork all day. I would try to seek the money through a grant so I’m not burdening taxpayers on that,” he said. Ideally, that person would be a retired-in-good-standing with the law enforcement certification. 

An open door policy will be a must for Monte, if he’s elected. “Yes, you might speak to a clerk, but I’m going to come out of my office and speak to you as well. I want to be there for everybody,” Monte said. “I want this job and I want to serve the public.”

“I’ve accomplished most everything I’ve set out to do and I’m at a crossroads where I’d really like to take my training and experience to the Magistrate Judge’s office. My interest in the position is because of my interest in the judicial side of being a law enforcement officer and I’ve spent much of my career relying on the magistrate judge’s office to help me perform my duties with integrity, fairness, and impartiality. And I want to take those same ideas to serve my county in that office,” Monte shared.

Monte will appear on the ballot on May 21. Early voting runs from April 29 through May 17. 

You can follow his campaign on Facebook here.

The race is nonpartisan, but if you request a nonpartisan ballot, you will only be able to vote in nonpartisan races, like judicial positions and Board of Education. If you vote in the Republican primary, you will be able to vote for Republican candidates for District Attorney, county commission, Sheriff, and in non-partisan races. If you vote in the Democratic primary, you will be able to vote for Democrat candidates and in non-partisan races.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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