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 Chief Presiding Judge in January of 2018, she is currently serving her second term as the Chief Judge of the Court. Presiding Judge Scales is a Past-President of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia. She is an active member of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges, serving on numerous committees as well as having previously been on its Executive Board, as Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Presiding Judge Scales was a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia from 2018-2020 and has been appointed by the Governor as a judicial representative to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, including its Legislative and Grant Committees. She was also appointed as a member of the Georgia Supreme Court Justice for Children Committee as a judicial representative. She currently serves as a member of the Georgia Council of Accountability Court Judges, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and is a member of various other voluntary bar associations and community organizations. Presiding Judge Scales is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, State Bar of Florida, and The Bar of the District of Columbia. She has been engaged in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Law in various capacities throughout her legal career, having served as an Assistant District Attorney assigned to the juvenile, trial, and appellate divisions, as a Special Assistant Attorney General representing the Fulton County Division of Family and Children Services, and as a Children and Youth Advocate/Attorney.
In addition to her traditional docket, Presiding Judge Scales serves as lead judge for the Family Treatment Court, known as HOPE Court. She has received honors and awards for her dedicated service and commitment to children and families. Presiding 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 Deputy Chief Judge for the Fulton County Juvenile Court. Judge Turner was raised in Atlanta and graduated from Therrell High School. Judge Turner attended the University of Georgia, graduating with a B.A. in psychology. She received her J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law and became a member of the California bar in 1989 and the Georgia bar in 1990. Judge Turner started her legal career as a law clerk for then Superior Court Judge Frank M. Hull. After her clerkship, she worked for the City of Atlanta as an Assistant City Attorney, and later as Assistant General Counsel for the Social Security Administration. She joined the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation in 2001 where she became Director of the Domestic Violence Project. Judge Turner began teaching Domestic Violence Law at Georgia State University’s College of Law in 2005. She joined academia full-time as the Externship and Pro Bono Director at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2007 and became an Assistant Dean in 2013. Judge Turner was the founding faculty advisor for the Public Interest Law Society at John Marshall where an annual scholarship is awarded in her honor. While at John Marshall, Judge Turner also organized an annual Youth and the Law Summit and a Re-Entry Forum for formerly incarcerated citizens. Judge Turner joined the bench part-time in 2012 as a Fulton County magistrate. She joined her current bench full-time in 2015, where she continues to hold an annual Youth and the Law Summit. Judge Turner is also 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. She was admitted as a Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Fellow for her work with school-justice partnerships. She is also the judge for CHOICES, the teen drug court program. She formerly served as president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA) in 1997. Judge Turner is currently a member of the National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges, Co-Chair of the Delinquency Committee for the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges, and Chair of the Ethics Committee for the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution. She is a member of the Gate City Bar Association, GABWA, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She also serves on the boards of the Andrew and Walter Young YMCA and Hillside International Truth Center.
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.