Desiree Sutton Peagler

Judge of DeKalb County
Juvenile Court

The Gregory A. Adams
Juvenile Justice Center

4309 Memorial Drive
Decatur, GA 30032


(404) 294-2828

Desiree Sutton Peagler, an Alabama native, served as the Chief Judge of the DeKalb County Juvenile Court from 2005 to 2015. Judge Peagler received her undergraduate degree from Troy University and her juris doctor degree from Emory University School of Law. Prior to her appointment as an Associate Judge at the Court in 1997, Judge Peagler served as an Assistant District Attorney in DeKalb County for approximately 9 years. A graduate of Leadership DeKalb, Judge Peagler has served on the Board of Trustees for the DeKalb County Public Library, the Board of Directors for The Decatur Rotary Club, the Board of Directors for the DeKalb Council on Literacy, and the Advisory Council for Youth Leadership DeKalb. She served on the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee for Justice for Children, has been a member of the DeKalb Bar Association and the DeKalb Lawyers Association, served on the Board of Directors for Leadership DeKalb and has worked in various capacities for many other professional and community organizations. She is a silver star member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Additionally, she has volunteered with the orchestra and college ministries at her church. 

In February, 2010, Judge Peagler received a Distinguished Service Award from the DeKalb History Center recognizing her as “an exceptional Law and Justice leader who made a positive impact on DeKalb County.” Additionally, the Mayor and City Council of the City of Doraville named February 1, 2011 in Judge Peagler’s honor. The former Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County, Liane Levetan, issued a proclamation declaring September 19, 1997 as Desiree Sutton Peagler Day in DeKalb County in recognition and commendation of her “diligence, patience, wisdom, and outstanding performance.” Judge Peagler previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Green Pastures Christian Schools, and the Board of Directors of the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center. Judge Peagler was a member of the executive committee of the United Negro College Fund, DeKalb County Committee, and served on the Executive Committee of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia until the expiration of her term. Judge Peagler is also a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and a member of Georgia’s Council of Juvenile Court Judges.

Under Judge Peagler’s leadership, the DeKalb County Juvenile Court received national and local recognitions for various court-based initiatives. The Court received the Bright Idea award from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Business and the Recognition of Excellence award at a Workforce Innovations conference in Anaheim, California. Additionally, the Court received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Georgia Council of Court Administrators for its Sex Offender Standards Manual. Recognizing the need for a more focused approach to community supervision of court-involved youth, the court implemented a program within the DeKalb County School District to place a school-based probation officer in middle and high schools in 2009. In 2010, the court became the 2nd court in the state to create a Juvenile Mental Health Court to address the specialized needs of youthful offenders with underlying mental health and behavioral disorders. During her tenure as chief judge, the court proactively sought funds to support evidence-based programs for court-involved youth, securing more than 1.7 million dollars in grant funds in 2013 alone. In 2013, the court was selected as one of 23 sites nationwide to receive a U.S. Department of Labor grant for the Youth Creating Change Program to further its mission.