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County judge gets his kicks on soccer field
The two sides of Darrell Snider.

From the courthouse to the soccer field, Darrell Snider is making waves in Bryan County. Snider balances his day job as the Bryan County Magistrate Judge with being a Select level soccer coach in Richmond Hill.

Snider said people he knows from each of these fields are often surprised when they discover his other side.

"I bumped into an RHRA referee at the courthouse the other day and he asked me what I was doing there," Snider said. "I jokingly told him ‘you may be a judge on the soccer field, but I’m a judge in the real world.’"

Snider said he was recruited into the magistrate position two years ago by then retiring Bryan County Magistrate Judge Dale Mitchum, whom he knew from Richmond Hill United Methodist Church. After applying for the position, Snider was subsequently appointed by local Superior Court judges with final approval unanimously approved by the Bryan County Commission.

As magistrate judge, it is up to Snider to determine if there is enough probable cause for arrest or search warrants to be issued. He must then write the actual warrant. Snider said he inherited a system where he had to type all the warrants by hand, but he has since set up a computer program to help ease this process.

Other judiciary duties include presiding over the first court appearance for individuals arrested in the county, followed by determining a bond amount. He is also responsible for presiding over small claims court, which settles grievances between county residents involving $15,000 or less. Snider said cases he hears are similar to those on the television show ‘The People’s Court’, but "the process is very different than what you see on television."

Meanwhile, in the soccer world, Snider has served as a coach for the last 15 years in Richmond Hill. Up until last year, he headed up the Richmond Hill Comets Select girls team. Snider is widely considered as one of the reasons the RHHS girls team has performed so well by offering a solid training program.

"Coach Snider has been a powerful ally in our quest to develop younger players into top flight competitors on the field and in life," RHHS girls coach Steve Kollman said. "His willingness to take groups of players from the U-10 league and train them until they enter high school has been a driving force in the success the RHHS girls and boys soccer programs have enjoyed the past four to six years."

"The whole intent was to keep these girls together in order to have a good high school team," Snider said of his run with the Comets.

And this goal was accomplished. The group of girls that were once under Snider’s tutelage went on to dominate Region 3-AAA at Richmond Hill High School while becoming state contenders. Snider said he hopes to have a similar impact with the boys.

When his daughter and RHHS/Comet player Allison Snider graduated, he decided to move on the boys Raiders program. Their first fall season included a record of seven wins, one loss and two ties. The team narrowly missed a first place spot in their division.

On the home front, his daughter Allison is playing NCAA Division III soccer at LaGrange College, as did her brother Ryan Snider, who started every game while attending LaGrange. The oldest Snider sibling, Colin, was also a successful soccer player at RHHS, but decided not to play on the collegiate level. Both Ryan and Colin are currently enrolled at Duke University.

Snider said he has enjoyed watching the success and development of all his former athletes.

"It’s fun watching them develop," he said. "I enjoy seeing them execute things on the high school field that I worked with them on. If this group (Raiders) stays together, we’ll certainly maintain a strong boys high school team in the years to come."

Snider also worked as a police officer before embarking on a career as a DEA agent.

In his 24 years in the DEA, Snider headed up drug busts from Augusta to Valdosta. He was featured on national television when a prime time network crime show did a reenactment of a case where he helped bring down Savannah drug kingpin Ricky Jivens, convicted of selling crack and killing 27 people.

"I got seven life sentences out of that case," Snider said. "A Savannah police officer that was tied into that group is doing a life sentence as well."

"They don’t come any better," said former DEA Agent and co-worker Jerry Sisco. "He was a very hard working guy who has the highest level of integrity."

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