Magistrate Court

Putnam County



Chief Magistrate Judge  




Chief Magistrate Judge Ellen Pierce was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, attending and graduating from Ridgeview High School in 1973.  She attended the University of Georgia through 1976 as an English major. 

In 1978 Judge Pierce began working in the legal field for an attorney in the Atlanta area.  Since that time she has worked as a legal secretary and paralegal for several law firms in the Atlanta area in many different areas of the law, including general practice, real estate, domestic relations, wills and trusts, criminal and litigation.  

Judge Pierce moved to Putnam County in 1990.  She continued working in the private field for an attorney in Eatonton until 1993 when she was hired by Judge Yvonne Harrell, Probate Judge and Chief Magistrate of Putnam County. At that time, the Probate and Magistrate Courts were combined.  She also was a Clerk of State Court (which handled all traffic offenses) and Deputy Clerk for the Superintendent of Elections (which handled all elections for Putnam County).  Upon Judge Harrell’s retirement at the end of 1996, Judge Pierce was appointed Chief Magistrate by the Superior Court Judges of the Ocmulgee Circuit and began serving January 1, 1997.  She was elected to the position of Chief Magistrate in 1998, re-elected in 2002, 2006, 2010 and again in 2014. 

 Judge Pierce has served the citizens of Putnam County in the Probate and Magistrate Courts of this county one person at a time.

The Court, community, family and friends lost Judge Ellen I. Pierce on March 31, 2018 in a tragic vehicle accident.   After decades of service, we continue to miss her leadership and friendship.


Former State Court Judge, Jesse Copelan, Jr. was sworn in as Interim Chief Magistrate in April 2018 and will serve until the newly elected Chief Magistrate,  Dorothy J. (Adams) Ford assumes office January 2019



Magistrate Judge  


Judge Linch was appointed as a Magistrate Judge in February  2000 .  Originally from St. Simons Island, Georgia, Judge Linch married Ronald S. Linch and moved to Eatonton in 1985.  Judge Linch  will be retiring at the end December 2018 after almost two decades of dedicated service.


Chief Deputy   


Mrs. Hill has been the  Chief Deputy Clerk for the Magistrate Court since 2000.  


  • Deputy Clerk 

  • Jan Dykes

  • Mrs. Dykes has been assisting in all areas of Magistrate Court since December 2017




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