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Judge Stephen N. Knights, Jr.: A Knight In The Courtroom


written by Marvella Nesbitt

Judge Stephen N. Knights, Jr. is one Henry County's elected state judges who believes that his appointment as a civil servant is a noble calling. The Guyanese born magistrate's passion for the legal profession started at the age of five. It would only seem natural since his father was a judge. He attributes shadowing his dad and watching TV shows like Perry Mason, Matlock, T. J. Hooker, and the notorious O. J. Simpson Trial that propelled the allure to practice law.


Knights attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. His extensive career as an attorney only underscores his view on the importance of having legal representation. “A lawyer is always a valuable asset in any area and is the best person to guide someone through the legal process.” After settling in Georgia, Knights became the Assistant Solicitor General in 2006 for Clayton County, District Attorney for Griffin County’s Judicial Circuit Court as a drug prosecutor in 2007, and Clayton’s Senior Litigation Assistant District Attorney in 2009. In addition, Knights worked for wife’s private practice, Knights Law Group, as a Senior Litigation Attorney. While working at the family law firm, he simultaneously served as a Clayton County Associate Magistrate Judge. The experience made his appointment as state judge for Henry County a seamless transition.


The Honorable Judge Knights has seen many judges preside over court proceedings throughout the span of his career. Being fair, impartial, respectful, punctual, and lawful are attributes he believes are paramount to being a good judge. When citizens come to his courtroom, they can expect him to be a compassionate judge who follows the Golden Rule. “People are people. They are not just a number, or a case on the docket, or just people being accused.” However, the job does come with its unexpected challenges. During COVID, the courts suspended in-person appearances and video communications became the standard. Judge Knight had to become technologically savvy. “It was a unique time and gave me a good handle to multitask and gave me a unique skill set.”



Equally, Judge Knights is very attuned to community needs. He believes education is key and started a program called “Interacting with the Police” in 2014. The initiative sought to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the citizens they serve. Needless to say, Knights’ past experience as an Auxiliary Police Officer with the New York Police Department proved to be insightful. “Many situations in law enforcement come from a misunderstanding. It was important for me to realize the need. I started this as a volunteer program and partnered with the library systems as a free informational one hour seminar.” He orchestrated the involvement of law enforcement officials and police officers to aid in the groundwork. The informational forum was immensely popular and focused on fourth amendment rights. Unfortunately, COVID disallowed the program to continue. In the near future, Judge Knight hopes to partner with other local community leaders and the library systems to restore his mission of educating the public about laws and civil policies.






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