May 2019

Dear Courts Journal readers:

Chief Justice Harold D. Melton speaking

May is the month of Law Day celebrations and commencement activities. Chief Justice Melton was invited all over the state to deliver Law Day keynotes and we got a video clip of his visit to Valdosta. We also read news articles that Sr. Judge George M. Peagler, Jr. of the Southwestern Judicial District of Georgia was the commencement speaker for the Georgia Southwestern State University Class of 2019 and that former chief judge of the Magistrate Court of Glynn County, Alex Atwood (now DOAS Commissioner Atwood), served as commencement speaker for the College of Coastal Georgia.

Judge Carla McMillian of the Georgia Court of Appeals participated recently in a podcast which kicks off with this story.  The Republic of Georgia judges visited once again as part of our exchange program.  Judge Jason Thompson has been visiting elementary and law schools.  

We have collected a few pictures for the Council of Probate, State, Magistrate and Juvenile Court Judges’s recent leadership transfers (thank you, Judge Prather for the State Court Judges pics!). Judge Amanda Baxter visited the AOC staff meeting this month.  JC/AOC’s Christopher Hansard became a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management. The AOC Governmental & Trial Court Liaison team summarized enacted legislation for the past session.

Judge T.J. Hudson being sworn in as President of the Council of Probate Court Judges by Justice John Ellington
Judge Juliette Scales being sworn in as President of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges by Judge John Sumner

The Child Support team has done multiple trainings in the month of May and are planning their first training for self-represented litigants in Albany on May 31.   A Multi-Disciplinary Child Abuse and Neglect Institute took place in Tifton, Georgia by the J4C team.  Former J4C committee member, Betsy Imes, wrote another foster care story and the Cold Case team held a work status meeting recently.  The Georgia Council of Court Administrators held a successful three-day conference and JC/AOC’s TabithaJorgeTracy, TylerAlison, and Stephanie were all speakers.  Aimee Maxwell interviewed JC/AOC staffer Willie Alcantara and we closed out Public Servant Recognition Week with a kudos board.  Judge Bonnie Oliver joined our “Meet the Members of the Judicial Council of Georgia” video series.  

Judge Bonnie Oliver  from her “Meet Your Judicial Council Member” video

Multiple Georgia judges from all classes of court met on May 3 for the one-day seminar titled: Judicial Work at the Interface of Mental Health & Criminal Justice. The seminar was a Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative sponsored by the Council of State Governments Justice Center with multiple partners.  If you missed it, video of the entire day with links for further study is available at the Courts Journal website.  Also, Judge Amero strongly urges everyone in the judicial system to watch a three-minute video from Crisis Now because it succinctly summarizes the work that is starting to take place in Georgia.

Superior Court Judge David Sweat, Western Judicial Circuit presenting on his circuit’s efforts to divert the mentally ill away from the justice system and into treatment

Judge Coomer was interviewed by the Daily Report and Judge Markle has made a number of speeches this month.  A Commission on Interpreters Orientation Workshop took place. The J4C Committee, JDEX Committee, and the A2J Committee all met in May.  We learned the next A2J expungement clinic will be held on July 26 in Valdosta.  Thank you, Judge Richard Cowart of the Southern Judicial Circuit, for your leadership in pulling the July clinic together.  Finally, a bridge naming ceremony took place in Marietta to honor our dear Justice Harris Hines.

Talk to you in June 

Your JC/AOC Courts Journal newsletter team:  Michelle Barclay, Patricia Buonodono,  Aimee Maxwell and Bruce Shaw