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Having reviewed a number of cases, it's fairly certain that Cobb County courts have reached FUBAR status. Are the judges now eating their own? Maybe there is a need for new judges as opposed to a shuffling of chairs on the deck.

Chief Judge J. Stephen Schuster of Cobb County Superior Court said the surprise candidacies of two challengers for his seat amount to retaliation for his role in a criminal investigation into Juvenile Court.

The candidates, Juvenile Court Judge Joanne Elizabeth Elsey and Marietta solo Cindie Alter, denied they jumped into the race in the final morning of qualifying March 11 for any reason beyond wanting to serve on the Superior Court bench.

They acknowledged they have been friends for 30 years but said they didn't coordinate their challenges. "It really was independent," said Elsey. "It's just coincidental that we'd both come to the same decision at the same point in our lives. We're about the same age so maybe that had something to do with it."

They are the first challengers Schuster is facing since he was first elected to the Superior Court in 2004.

Schuster issued a statement after learning of the challenges, saying that as chief judge, he was told of allegations of wrongdoing involving funds at the Juvenile Court. The Cobb Superior Court appoints the county juvenile court judges.

"I referred the matter over to the district attorney of Cobb County who conducted the investigation. That investigation resulted in four people being indicted. This is the backlash for doing the right thing," Schuster said.

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