Newest Athens County Municipal Court Judge Todd Grace takes a picture with his predecessor, Judge William Grim, during his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.

New Athens Judge Takes His Post

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The Athens County Municipal Court took a step back from the usual work on Wednesday to allow a new judge to step up.

Judge Todd Grace was sworn-in as the newest municipal court judge in front of almost all of the current county judges, including the mentor whose place Grace is taking.

Grace got emotional during the ceremony while thanking his family and his many advisors during his more than a decade of legal work in Athens.

“I just want to say thank you and I will do everything I can to do well at this job,” Grace said.

The predecessor to Grace, outgoing Municipal Court Judge William Grim, has mixed feelings about passing on the gavel, but said it’s easier to move on knowing Grace is picking up where he left off.

“I’ve known him for more than a dozen years, and I have watched him develop as an excellent trial lawyer, someone who is very analytical, someone who is very kind and compassionate,” Grim said. “I think that I’ve known for years he would make a good judge whenever I was ready to give up the job.”The other judges came to praise the trial attorney who has a private practice in Athens, which he has conducted for more than a decade while filling in as a magistrate judge and municipal court judge when needed.

Grace said it was Probate/Juvenile Judge Robert Stewart who first saw potential in the young lawyer. Less than two years into Grace’s private practice, the judge asked him to take on the responsibility as a magistrate judge.

Stewart said the community is “blessed” to have Grace come to the municipal court bench at this point in his career.

“I would expect that as many terms as Todd wishes to have here, the citizenry will probably grant him that opportunity,” Stewart said.

Grace will take on a docket that sees about 12,000 cases per year, and he already has plans to adjust how the large docket is handled.”I want to bring in technology upgrades, including electronic filing of tickets,” Grace said.With his work as a magistrate judge in custody and child support cases, and his time as acting judge in the municipal court, Grace said he is familiar with the cases he’ll be seeing in his new role.He said there will be some “growing pains” as the court comes into a more electronic age, but he also has hope for first-time offenders and those that are part of the diversion program.”I’m looking to expand (diversion),” Grace said. “I want to see people have opportunities.”