Fani T. Willis

Occupation: Attorney

Fani Willis.

Previous legal experience: Private practice as contract attorney and sole practitioner, 1996-2000; represented the city of Atlanta in city ordinance violations and became the lead solicitor handling preliminary hearings for murder cases, 2000-2001; I began my career at the District Attorney’s office as an Assistant District Attorney. I was promoted to Senior Assistant District Attorney, where I prosecuted sex crimes. I was then promoted to serve as Executive Assistant District Attorney, where I prosecuted homicides. I was promoted to Deputy District Attorney. I was assigned high-profile cases, such as the Atlanta Public Schools cheating case and the Martin Blackwell hate crime case, 2001-2018.

What makes you the better candidate to become a judge?

My entire 22-year career has been spent serving the citizens of Fulton County. I know this court system and how to run it efficiently. I have tried three times as many cases as my opponent and the nature and complexity of the cases far outweighs his experience. I am credited with trying the longest and one of the most complex cases in Georgia history successfully. During my career I have tried both civil and criminal cases. Further, I serve this community in my personal time doing community service for children and the homeless.

Describe a tough legal decision you have faced in your career and where you are proud of the result.

A tough decision in my legal career has been to serve on the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial as lead counsel. Many in the African American community despise that case because they feel like it targeted the African American middle class. The truth is the case defended the African American middle class. Most teachers in that case were victims that did the right thing and were abused by administration, and I defended poor children that with education will become the next African American middle class. Although sometimes demonized, I stood for children and my community.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.