Juvenile Court Judges
The Judiciary conducts all hearings which are mandated by law to determine the existence of probable cause, the necessity for detention, adjudication and disposition of delinquency, dependency, children in need of services, and traffic offenses; grants legitimations, guardianships, sealing records, permission to marry, to join the military or to determine parent notification of a minor’s intention to seek an abortion; and judicial reviews of children who are placed in foster care.
By special authorization of the Fulton County Superior Court, the Fulton County Juvenile Court also conducts adoptions for those cases where the termination of parent rights has occurred to expedite permanency for these children. Chief Presiding Judge Juliette W. Scales leads the judiciary and directs the operations of Fulton County Juvenile Court.
Presiding Judge Juliette W. Scales
Presiding Judge Juliette W. Scales has served as a full-time Juvenile Court Judge since May 2013, having initially been appointed as an Associate Judge in June, 2002. Designated as the Presiding Judge in January of 2018, she is currently serving her second term as the Chief Judge of the Court. Judge Scales is a Past-President of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia having served from June 2019- June 2020. She is an active member of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges on numerous committees as well as having previously been on its Executive Board, as Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Judge Scales was a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia from 2018-2020 and appointed by the Governor as a judicial representative to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, legislative and Grant Committees. She was also appointed as a member of the Georgia Supreme Court Justice for Children Committee. She also serves as a member of the State Bar of Georgia, Georgia Council of Accountability Court Judges, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and is a member of various other voluntary bar associations. Judge Scales has been engaged in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Law in various capacities throughput her legal career, having served as an Assistant District Attorney, Special Assistant Attorney General for the Division of Family and Children Services, a Children and Youth Advocate/Attorney and in the private sector. In addition to her regular docket, Judge Scales presides over the Family Treatment Court, known as HOPE Court. Judge Scales has received honors and awards for her dedicated service and commitment to children and families. Judge Scales earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from The Hampton University, Hampton Virginia and her Juris Doctorate Degree from The American University, Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.
Judge Renata D. Turner
Judge Renata D. Turner is a graduate of Therrell High School and the University of Georgia where she earned a B.A. in psychology. She worked for five years as a caseworker for the Fulton County Department of Family and Children Services before entering law school in 1986. She received her Juris Doctorate from the Southern California University School of Law. Judge Turner became the Assistant Dean of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2013. While at John Marshall, Judge Turner annually organized a Youth and the Law Summit and a Re-Entry Forum for formerly incarcerated citizens. In partnership with the court, she continues to hold an annual Youth and the Law Summit. Judge Turner is the lead judge for the School Pathways Project, a collaboration between the court and the Atlanta and Fulton school systems to close the school-to-prison pipeline. Judge Turner also presides over CHOICES, the court’s teen drug court. She was recently admitted as Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Fellow for her work with school-justice partnerships. Judge Turner has served as vice chair of the Fulton County Child Attorney’s board; a committee advisor for the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children; and an executive board member of the Charles Weltner Family Law Inn of Court. She served as president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys in 1997. Judge Turner is currently a member of the National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges, a member of the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution, and serves as a board member of the Andrew and Walter Young YMCA.
Judge Wenona C. Belton
Judge Wenona Clark Belton has served as Judge since January 10, 2020, after having served the court as an Associate Judge since July 2013. Prior to her judicial service, she served the Court as an agency attorney; Clerk of Court; Assistant Public Defender; and Judicial Staff Attorney. Judge Belton has been certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist through the National Association of Counsel for Children/American Bar Association since 2012. Judge Belton serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She also serves on several committees within the State Bar of Georgia, Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and is a member of various voluntary bar associations. Judge Belton is a Cabinet Member of Get Georgia Reading, a statewide collaborative which has identified third-grade reading as an urgent priority, and shares strategies to promote and enhance literacy.
Judge Belton earned a Juris Doctorate Degree from the Georgia State University College of Law and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. A former foster parent, Judge Belton has served as a CASA volunteer and Volunteer Lawyer, Domestic Violence Project, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation.
Judge Christopher W. Yokom
Judge Christopher W. Yokom earned his undergraduate degree from Mercer University and a Juris Doctorate from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. Judge Yokom first joined Fulton County Juvenile Court as a juvenile probation officer in 1997 and held a variety of legal and administrative positions before being appointed to the bench in 2017 as an Associate Judge.
In 2005, Judge Yokom was named Child Advocate Attorney of the Year by the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar. In 2013, he was named Fulton County Court Employee of the Year by the Atlanta Bar Association. In January of 2020, Judge Yokom was appointed as a Presiding Judge for Fulton County Juvenile Court. In addition to his responsibilities as a Presiding Judge, Judge Yokom also presides over the ASCEND (Alternative Solutions Creating Excellence Not Detention) Accountability Court.
Judge Yokom is a registered mediator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution and a member of the Atlanta Bar Association, Stonewall Bar Association, and the Gate City Bar Association. He is also on the Executive Committee for the Council of Juvenile Court Judges as the District Representative of District 5 and serves as a Committee Member to the Georgia Supreme Court’s Judicial Council Ad Hoc Committee on Judicial Emergency Preparedness.
Judge Phillip Jackson
Judge Phillip Jackson received his B.B.A. degree from the University of Georgia. He received his M.B.A. from Georgia State University. He received his Juris Doctorate from the Georgia State University College of Law in 1988. Judge Jackson was admitted to State Bar of Georgia on June 12, 1989. He was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar Association on April 6, 1990. Judge Jackson was appointed to the Fulton County Juvenile Court bench on June 12, 2009.
Judge Coy J. Johnson Jr.
Judge Coy J. Johnson earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law. He became a member of the Georgia State Bar in 2003. Judge Johnson was appointed to the Juvenile Court bench in February 2020.
Judge T. Natasha Crawford
Judge T. Natasha Crawford was appointed to the Fulton County Juvenile Court as a judge in January 2023. She began her legal career in habeas appellate litigation as a fellow with the Habeas Project. Judge Crawford then worked as an Assistant Public Defender in Fulton County from 2014 to 2020 representing defendants charged with felony crimes. While serving as an Assistant Public Defender, Judge Crawford was actively involved with the My Journey Matters Program, which aimed to divert SB440 children and youthful offenders from a lifetime of crime. Judge Crawford subsequently served Fulton County as Deputy Assistant Solicitor General from 2020 to 2023. Judge Crawford supervised trial division courtrooms, accountability courts (DUI Court and Mental Health Court), competency dockets, and record restrictions. Her practice included an emphasis on community engagement, where she attended the Mayor’s Midnight Basketball League for youths and organized Record Restriction Summits with community partners.
Judge Crawford earned her undergraduate degree from Temple University in Strategic and Organizational Communications and her J.D and LL.M. degrees from Mercer University School of Law. She was inducted into the Order of the Barristers in 2013, served as Atlanta Area Vice President for the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 2018 to 2020, and has been active in the Clarence Cooper Inn of Court since 2016.