July 2022

Greetings Courts Journal Readers

A “thunder and lightning duo”–as described by former Justice Melton in his not-to-be-missed remarks during the investiture ceremony–assumed leadership of the Supreme Court of Georgia when Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs and Presiding Justice Nels S. D. Peterson were sworn into their new roles on July 18, 2022, which also means that Georgia has a new Chair and Vice Chair of the Judicial Council.  During his remarks, Chief Justice Boggs noted, “as chief justice, please know I’m committed to helping our courts in ways that ensure they’re prepared to meet the needs of Georgia’s citizens.  Our judicial system will continue to need resources, even patience from everyone, as we work through the long-term consequences of the pandemic.”  Chief Justice Boggs’s alma mater, Georgia Southern University, profiled him this month in their magazine. On July 20th, the Honorable Andrew Pinson was sworn in as the Supreme Court of Georgia’s newest justice and Judge Ben Land was sworn into the Court of Appeals of Georgia.  Additional new judicial appointments made in the month of July 2022 include:  Nora  Polk as Superior Court Judge for the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit; Angela O’Conor as State Court Judge of Paulding County, and Savannah Dixon as Associate Probate Court Judge of Rabun County.

Top row: Pictures from the Supreme Court Investiture Ceremony of Chief Justice Boggs and Presiding Justice Peterson. Bottom row: Pictures from the swearing in of Justice Pinson and Judge Land.

The Judicial Council’s Judicial Workload Assessment, Legislation, Budget, and Technology Committees all met this month, as did its Ad Hoc Committee on Judicial Salaries and Supplements. In a press release, the Judicial Council’s Grants Committee announced $3.6 million in grant awards to nonprofits that provide civil legal services for domestic violence cases and kinship care.  The Judicial Council’s Access to Justice Committee held a Record Restriction informational meeting in Wilkes County, as well as a Records Restriction Clinic in Valdosta, and is promoting a series of virtual classes to be held this year in partnership with the Access to Justice Center of Georgia State University’s College of Law called “Minding the Justice Gap”  The first class in that virtual series will take place on August 22nd and is titled “Chasing Justice; How to Be Part of the Solution.” The Georgia Commission on Family Violence’s 28th Annual Conference is in September; through a grant from CJCC, JC/AOC is offering scholarships to cover the registration fees for judges.  

JC/AOC committee meetings held in July.
A flier for the first class of the series “Minding the Justice Gap.”

We interviewed Chief Judge Rebecca Pitts, President of the Council of Magistrate Court Judges, Judge Render Heard, President of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges, Judge Shawn Rhodes, President of the Council of Probate Court Judges, and Judge John Morse, President-Elect of the Council of Superior Court Judges to update our “Meet the Members of the Judicial Council” webpage.  During that trip to capture video footage of judges from all over the state, we especially enjoyed visiting the courthouse in Abbeville which has not changed substantially since 1903. Kudos to Judge Ben Studdard on his 8th trip to the country of Georgia since 2017 to support judicial reform and the development of that country’s Jury Trial Institute.  We were so fortunate to observe the graduation ceremony for the “My Journey Matters” program which was started under (now) Justice Shawn LaGrua and passed on to Judge Rachelle Carnesale of the Superior Court for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit.

Judge John Morse, Jr., “Meet the Judicial Council Members” profile.
Judge Shawn Rhodes, “Meet the Judicial Council Members” profile.
Chief Judge Rebecca Pitts, “Meet the Judicial Council Members” profile.
Judge Render Heard, “Meet the Judicial Members” profile.
Judge Rachelle Carnesale and Justice Shawn Ellen LaGrua speaking to graduates of the “My Journey Matters” program on July 22.

We send congratulations to: Chief Judge Rickman on his honorary degree from Piedmont University; Judge Susan Edlein who was awarded the Outstanding Woman in the Profession Achievement Award by the State Bar of Georgia’s Women in the Profession Section; Judge Tammi Hayward who received the Community Service Award from the Clayton County Bar Association, and to Chief Judge Brendan Murphy for making the 40 under 40 UGA Alumni List.  We also send congratulations to the awardees of the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service.  We’ve been enjoying the many posts about summer interns.  Be sure to listen to the Good Judge-ment Podcast, episodes 95 (Charge Conferences) and 96 (Guardians Ad Litem) and in case you missed it, we recommend listening to this “Discover Your Talent” podcast with Judge Barnes.  We also recommend reading the CACJ newsletter, if you don’t already.  We leave you with these stylish photos of the summer light at the Nathan Deal Judicial Center.

Photos borrowed from @JudgeDillard.

Call on us anytime.  Talk to you in August.

Your JC/AOC Courts Journal team:  Michelle BarclayNoelle Lagueux-AlvarezBruce Shaw, and our contractor, John Ramspott