State Court - Judge Brian K. Fortner

Judge Brian K. Fortner image
2023 Fortner team 3

Stephanie Epps

Judicial Assistant


Justin Ricks

Civil Calendar/Case Management Clerk


Nicole Beheler

Criminal Calendar/Case Management Clerk


Anna Vaughn-Upshaw

Staff Attorney


Mary Miller

Litigation Case Manager


If your appearance is required at the courthouse, please see the Superior Court Covid-19 Order for Courthouse requirements and protocol.

Scheduling Cases

  • Judge Fortner controls the scheduling of the criminal and civil cases that are assigned to him. Criminal cases in which the defendant remains incarcerated without bond are given priority.
  • To waive your appearance at your Criminal/Traffic/DUI Arraignment Hearing, please complete the appropriate Arraignment Waiver form (under Documents) and file it with the Clerk’s office 24 hours prior to your scheduled hearing date.
  • Anyone with a pending criminal case and who is unable to afford to hire an attorney should contact the Douglas County Public Defender’s office. Please see the Public Defender's page for contact information and application requirements.
  • If assistance is needed regarding a court date, please contact Judge Fortner’s Criminal Calendar Clerk, Nicole Beheler, at 770-920-7327 or, or his Civil Calendar Clerk, Justin Ricks, at 770-920-7256 or
  • The new case management system is now live. Attorneys can request an ID and Password by emailing their request to the Clerk of the Superior Court.

Judge Fortner's Biography

Professional Background

Judge Fortner was appointed to the State Court of Douglas County by Governor Nathan Deal in March, 2018, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Neal Dettmering who retired in December, 2017.  Prior to his appointment, Judge Fortner served as the Douglas County District Attorney.  

Judge Fortner earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from North Georgia College and State University and a law degree from the Georgia State University College of Law. After being admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 2000, Judge Fortner served as a prosecutor with the Douglas County District Attorney's Office for over six years. In 2007, Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed him as Solicitor General of Douglas County and he was elected to that position in 2008.  He returned to the district attorney’s office as the Chief Assistant District Attorney in 2012 and was elected District Attorney in 2014.  

Judge Fortner oversees the Moderate Risk track of the Douglas County Misdemeanor DUI and Drug Accountability Court.  Since its inception, the Accountability Court has graduated 151 participants and saved the county over $850,000.00 in jail costs.  Judge Fortner also serves on the Legislative Committee of the Counsel of Accountability Court Judges. 

Community Service

Judge Fortner volunteers with several organizations in Douglas County.  He has mentored youth involved with various local organizations like Fit For the Future, Beyond the Front Porch, Youth Against Violence, Youth Emporium, and the Boy Scouts.  He also works with Operation Christmas Douglas County (founded by Superior Court Judge William McClain) during the holiday season organizing and delivering Christmas gifts for needy local children.  

Judge Fortner serves on the Board of Directors at the local church he has attended for the past sixteen years.

Personal Information

Judge Fortner lives in Winston with his wife and twin teenage sons.