Reelect Chief Magistrate Judge James Drane

Member in Good Standing of the State Bar of Georgia


Dear Citizens of Cherokee County:

I have had the high honor and privilege to serve you for nearly 19 years as a Judge of the Cherokee County Magistrate Court, and I ask for your continued support.  The Cherokee County Magistrate's Office has been very busy this year. Collectively, our judges will handle approximately 32,500 to 36,000 actions requiring a judge's opinion or ruling. 

Every employee here in the Magistrate Court is committed to providing the highest level of service possible to the citizens of Cherokee County

I believe that I have demonstrated and have the proven record to continue as your elected Magistrate Judge.  Having now lived in Cherokee County for nearly 27 years, my wife, my children, and I consider Cherokee County our home and community.

During my first campaign in 2008, I made these following promises to you and I have delivered.

PROMISE #1: To implement an electronic arrest and search warrant system to save Cherokee County, and you as taxpayers, money and to help law enforcement officers remain in action on the street where they are needed.

          DELIVERED! The new Electronic Warrant Interface (EWI) system was beta tested on September 16th, 2010 and continues to prove its value to Cherokee County. The EWI system continues to provide savings to the taxpayers of Cherokee County.

Through September of 2019, we have issued 57,608 warrants with a yearly savings of $958,250 to the taxpayers of Cherokee County.

PROMISE #2: To be a good and faithful steward of County funds, and your tax dollars and resources.

          DELIVERED! During 2009, your Magistrate Court saved Cherokee  County approximately $48,000.00 by providing low-cost assistance to the overloaded State Court. Your Magistrate Court also returned $227,418.17 back to Cherokee County.

Through December of 2018, your Magistrate Court has collected and yearly returned an average of $683,441.84 to the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners, other Cherokee County Departments, and agencies like the Georgia Indigent Defense Fund.

In early 2009, your Magistrate Court instituted a criminal bad check citation procedure. Through this citation procedure, the Court is able to recover monies for local merchants while eliminating the cost to Cherokee County taxpayers for prosecuting numerous bad check cases.

Through December of 2018, restitution from bad checks (and other civil cases) amounts to $73,495.26.

Through 2018, your Magistrate Court, using enforcement procedures regarding abandoned vehicles, collected $50,714.70 in excess funds. These monies are held in escrow for one year pursuant to law, after which one-half, will be paid out to the general funds of the County and its municipalities.

And finally, your Magistrate Court will took in revenues approaching $797,994!

PROMISE #3: To work in cooperation with other County Courts and departments to save costs and add value for the taxpayers of Cherokee County.

          DELIVERED! The EWI implementation was a cooperative effort involving the offices of the Clerk of Courts, the Sheriff, the District Attorney and Solicitor General, and the several city law enforcement officers within the County. In addition to providing substanial assistance to the State Court, your Magistrate Court also provides periodic assistance to the Juvenile and Probate Courts at no additional cost.

          At a estimated rate of $125.00 per warrant issued, this cooperative effort has led to estimated savings for the taxpayers of Cherokee County.

          Taxpayers Savings:       $7,201,000    (Since Inception, and as of 09/24/19)
          Many other jurisdictions estimate these same savings at a rate of $215.00 to $260.00 per warrant issued. We have purposefully chosen a more conservative rate.

Your Magistrate Court is continuing to keep the promise! Please see our "Activities" page for a running list of goals that we have set for each month, and the achievements realized for that month. Your Court and our promises to you to be good stewards of your County resources is a continuing promise! Each one of our employees arrive at work each morning looking for ways to improve our service and our efficiency to you, our boss! We'll continue to update this "Activities" page periodically so you can see for yourself how we're doing.

Again, it has been an honor for me to serve as one of your judges here in Cherokee County.  I take great pride in serving as your Chief Magistrate Judge.  If I can be of any assistance to you, or if you would like me to speak at your next civic or business meeting, please feel free to contact me at  Please remember, court rules prohibit me from discussing the specifics of your case outside of the courtroom. I invite you to take a few minutes and visit my site.  I look forward to hearing from you.


James E. Drane 

Employment History

Magistrate Court of Cherokee County, 2000 - Present

Chief Magistrate Judge, 2009 - Present

Associate Judge, 2000 - 2008
        Accomplishments: Past and current pro temp appointments as judge to every court in Cherokee County including Superior, State, Probate, Juvenile, Municipal and Traffic Court.

Reinhardt University, February 2013 - August 2014
Adjunct Professor
          Accomplishments: Adjunct professor in Criminal Law and Procedure.

Reinhardt College - Public Safety Institute, June 2010 - August 2014
Guest Instructor
        Accomplishments: Guest Instructor in the subjects of Searches & Seizures, Fourth Amendment Studies, Courtroom Demeanor & Testimony, Confessions, Admissions, and Miranda Issues and Pre-Trial Identification, Rules of Evidence, Laws of Arrest, Legal Justification, Types of Laws, Constitutional Law, The Bill of Rights, Arrests With and Without Warrant.

Chattahoochee Technical College, 2007 - 2012
Adjunct Professor
        Accomplishments: Adjunct professor in Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Procedure and Evidence, Ethics in Policing,  Constitutional Law, and Community Policing.
            Judge Drane is certified by the State of Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T.) as a Guest Instructor in the area of Criminal Law and Procedure.

The Law Firm of Flint & Connolly, LLP, 1998 - 2005
Associate Attorney
        Accomplishments: Completed the largest recall action of a publicly elected official in Georgia history. No Bar complaints and never censured or reprimanded by the State Bar of Georgia.     

Fast Back Tax Preparation Service, 1992 - 2005
Owner / Operator

The Securities Firm of Royal Alliance, 1987 - 1998
Managing Principal, 1992 - 1998
Associate Broker 1987 - 1991
        Accomplishment: Completion of various license requirements including: Series 64 License (Legal Investment Advisor's License),  Series 24 License (Investment Principal's License), Series 63 License (The States' Uniform Securities License),  and the Series 7 License (General Securities License).

National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Program, 2007 - Present

Institute of Continuing Judicial Education
University of Georgia, 2000 - Present

     Most Recent Classes:          
      Mental Health Issues and the Courts II
      Chief Judge's Update
                                                      Adoption Law
                                                      Understanding Social Media
                                                      Georgia and the Second Amendment
                                                      Courthouse Security and
                                                           Workplace Violence
                                                      Jail Diversion
                                                      Mental Health Issues and the Courts I
                                                      Elder Abuse
                                                      Real Property Foreclosure
                                                      Ethics and Professionalism
                                                      Prescription Drug Conference
                                                      Domestic Violence (I,II, and III)
                                                      Accountability Courts &
                                                           & Collaborative Justice
                                                      National Dog Bite and Prevention
                                                           Conference 2012
                                                      Local Ordinance Cases
                                                      Ferguson Scrutiny in Our Courts
                                                      Trial Advocacy

John Marshall Law School, Atlanta, Georgia
Juris Doctorate, 1997

Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia
Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, Political Science, 1995

Florida Law Enforcement Academy, Quincy, Florida
Marine Patrol Division, Auxillary Unit, 1981

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