Local attorney Jason Souther was sworn in as associate juvenile court judge for Whitfield County during a ceremony Tuesday morning at the Whitfield County Courthouse.
Juvenile Court Judge Philip Woodward administered the oath to Mr.
Souther in the juvenile courtroom packed by family, friends, co-workers, and other well-wishers, including his wife, Molly, parents Mark and Rhonda Souther, maternal grandparents, Bill and Alice Sloan, brother, Jess Souther, and paternal uncle, Dwight Souther.
Mr. Souther will continue to work for the local law firm of Little, Bates, Kelehear & Toland, P.C., and in his new position with the juvenile court will be handling traffic court and truancy court cases approximately a day and a half each week, helping to lessen the strain of the increased workload of the court.
“We interviewed a bunch of people, but Jason stood out in many ways,” Mr. Woodward told the crowd. “Educationally, experientially he qualifies, but the one thing that really impressed us was his heart. He has described how this work down here means more to him than anything else he’s been doing … he’s said he felt like he was affecting lives more than anything else he was doing in law. It’s that kind of heart that belongs here, and it’s that kind of heart that we welcome. We know he will be a significant part of the role that juvenile court plays in this community.”
Mr. Souther has a long history working for county courts, going back to his days as an intern while in college “moving boxes” under then-District Attorney Kermit McManus and later as a full-time employee of the D.A.’s office after graduating from law school. He praised the “phenomenal mentors” from those days at the D.A.’s office, as well as the “incredible influences” he’s gained during his time with Little, Bates, Kelehear & Toland.
“Juvenile Court is a very different court than the ones I was used to working in, but it’s one that’s meant a lot to me,” said Mr. Souther, who has served as guardian ad litem for children and also as court-appointed attorney for indigent parents. “It’s one that’s meant a lot to me very quickly. It’s something that I could not force, it just sort of happened that I love juvenile court.
“I’ll work hard every day,” the new judge said, “to make sure that I make the citizens of Whitfield County and all that enter this court proud of the job that we’re doing here.”