Greetings Courts Journal readers:
For the first time in over two years, an in-person Judicial Council meeting was held on April 22nd at the Nathan Deal Judicial Center. It was the last Judicial Council General Session for Chief Justice Nahmias. During his remarks at the close of that meeting, Justice Peterson noted that Chief Justice Nahmias served as Chair or Vice Chair for 50 Judicial Council meetings–a record number because of the pandemic. It was also the first time many of the Judicial Council members were able to tour the NDJC since COVID-19 took hold in March 2020. The meeting was live streamed and archived, and included reports from the ARPA Funding, Budget, Legislation, Judicial Workload Assessment, and Technology Committees, as well as the Judicial COVID-19 Task Force. The Chief Justice was also honored this month by Georgia CASA for his service in improving justice for children, and his remarks in receiving the award were moving, especially when he noted his own time as a CASA volunteer while in law school. We learned that the Georgia State-wide Business Court hosted its first-ever trial in the Judicial Conference Room of the NDJC just days before that room was the venue for the Judicial Council meeting and Judge Walter Davis expressed enormous gratitude for the efforts of many who worked hard to ensure that the Court’s first trial proceeded smoothly. Judge Davis was also part of a panel discussion hosted by the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association and Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce about the operations of the State-wide Business Court on April 28th.
Georgia’s legislative session ended on April 4, 2022 and we are pleased to report that the Judicial Council’s legislative objective passed. HB 916, the Superior and State Court Appellate Practice Act, is important legislation modernizing Georgia’s antiquated appellate process from a lower judicatory to a superior or state court. This bill was many years in the making. Another closely watched bill was House Speaker Ralston’s HB 1013–the Georgia Mental Health Parity Act– which passed unanimously. We are grateful to Presiding Justice Boggs for his work on Georgia’s Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission which helped make that legislation a reality. We also want to raise awareness of NCSC’s Recognition of and Response to Youth Mental Health Crisis whose Task Force released recommendations. We were so grateful to receive the report from Bryan County State Court Judge Billy Tomlinson that everyone remained safe in the courthouse vault during a tornado on April 6th. Judge Tomlinson updated us on the repair and rebuilding efforts. He also said that the county and municipalities in his community have been helpful in finding alternative locations to hold court. Hopefully, all classes of court will restart by mid-May. Plenty of lessons learned from that incident will help the Ad Hoc Emergency Preparedness Committee co-chaired by Judge Trea Pipkin of the Court of Appeals and Judge Amanda Petty of the Superior Court for the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit. We invite you to read this wonderful article about Judge Jeffrey S. Malcom of the Northern Judicial Circuit and his son, Ryan Malcom.
Thank you to Judge Ural Glanville of Fulton County Superior Court for speaking at our staff meeting this month. Your life story and career are inspiring to all of us. The JC/AOC has been busy administering Process Servers Exams, both oral and written. We are thrilled to announce our Law Day Art Contest winners as decided by the members of the Judicial Council. Please let us know if you want to be a part of the award ceremony for any local winner in your part of the state as we would love to make that happen. We are exploring a partnership with the Georgia Center for Civic Engagement and the Georgia Family Connection Partnership to collaborate in leveraging the many civics education resources provided by iCivics. We need judicial champions for that effort! If you are interested in contributing to this civics-education initiative, please be on the lookout for a sign-up sheet in May. We enjoyed seeing Judge Kight provide a civics lesson to students in Coffee County. We were thrilled to learn that Isha Gupta from Daves Creek Elementary School in Cumming, Georgia won 2nd place in NCSC’s 2022 Civics Education Essay Contest. We attended the Accountability Court graduation hosted by Cobb County Superior Court Judge Ann Harris which gave us the opportunity to interview her. Congratulations to Hall County Probate Court Judge Patty Walters Laine who was selected by her colleagues as the 2021-2022 Outstanding Probate Judge of the Year, and to Speaker Ralston, the recipient of the CPCJ’s 2022 Legislative Recognition award for his work on House Bill 1013. Congratulations as well to the Council of Magistrate Court Judges award winners: Chief Judge Cassandra Kirk (Humanitarian), Judge Quinn Kasper (Magistrate of the Year), Judge Megan Kinsey (Workhorse), Chief Judge Berryl Anderson (Lifetime Achievement). We loved the pictures from Judge Greene’s and Judge Tain Kell’s retirement gatherings and thanks to Hall County State Court Judge John Breakfield for sharing pictures of your lovely new courthouse art.
Congratulations to Fulton Superior Court Chief Judge Chris Brasher who was honored by the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation for his commitment to community and Judge Ana Maria Martinez who received the LAA Pacesetter Award. We enjoyed this podcast featuring Fulton County State Court Judge Susan Edlein as she helped explain the court system. You should not miss the Good Judge-ment podcast, Ep. 88 about Judge Kell’s retirement and Ep. 89, titled “Bees In Our Judicial Bonnets, Part I.” The Judges of DeKalb County presented a Zoom CLE ”Act Like a Lawyer, Think Like a Judge.” Mercer Law School’s Georgia Appellate Practice classes have been going strong this month with guest speakers: Justice Bethel; Presiding Judge Doyle; and Judge Gobeil, among others. We enjoyed learning from Justice Carla Wong McMillian’s social media that her mother was interviewed as part of a Chinese-American Oral History Project in Augusta. We saw the uniformed group of NROTC prospective midshipmen crossing the street and we loved learning later that they were visiting the Supreme Court of Georgia. Finally, we leave you with this post from Judge Dillard of the beautiful Easter Sequence chant by the Sisters of Aquinas.
Call on us anytime. Talk to you in May.