From left, Judge Victoria Darrisaw and Velvet Riggins
ALBANY, Ga. -- Incoming Dougherty State Court Judge Victoria Darrisaw and Dougherty School Board member Velvet Riggins were sworn into office Friday by Probate Court Judge Nancy Stephenson.
"Judges are often treated like Rodney Dangerfield -- they get no respect," Dougherty Superior Court Chief Judge Willie Lockett said in remarks prior to the swearing in. "So if the office holds very little prestige, popularity and little income, what is the attraction? A passion for justice for all people. Victoria Darrisaw has this."
Darrisaw, who is replacing outgoing State Court Judge John Salter, thanked many people after being sworn in.
"I'd like to thank God, my husband (George) and my children (George III and Helen), and I am pleased that my mother is here, she has been my rock," Darrisaw said after being sworn in. "I am humbled by the confidence shown in me by the people of Dougherty County. I am eager to embark on this new journey."
Darrisaw served as a county magistrate for three years, and prior to that as assistant district attorney in both the Dougherty Judicial Circuit and the South Georgia Judicial Circuit. Her early experience includes serving as law clerk for Judge W. Louis Sands and Judge Tommy Day Wilcox.
Hours later, Velvet Riggins was sworn into a second term as a Dougherty County School Board member.
"It's been a long journey to get here," Riggins said after her ceremony. "During my journey it was a time for me to grow. I'd like to thank all of the people who stood behind me and supported me throughout the entire ordeal.
Early last year, Riggins was indicted on school lunch fraud charges and was subsequently suspended from office by Gov. Nathan Deal. In November, a Dougherty jury acquitted her on all counts.
During her suspension she was re-elected to her District 3 seat after running unopposed.
"It's time to move on now," she said. "We have serious issues facing our school system and I am looking forward to starting something new."