November 2018

Dear Courts Journal Readers,

The entire judicial branch of Georgia is mourning the loss of former Chief Justice Hines.  Michelle remembers his theme of “we need to love each other more” which came up frequently as a point of discussion last year before he retired.  We are grateful for the moving stories that many of you have sent us about Chief Justice Hines. 

Turning to the news since our last issue, Judge Coomer has been sworn in to the Court of Appeals and we had four new trial court judges sworn in by Governor Deal (Judges Rebecca Crumrine Rieder, Holly Wilkinson Veal, John M. Stephenson, and Nicholas Primm).  Chief Justice Melton recently swore in Ken Hodges into the Court of Appeals.

From left, Georgia State Trooper Dexter Harden,  Georgia Supreme Court Staff Members Aimee Hadden and Jane Hansen, and Chief Justice Harold Melton in Albany.

Chief Justice Melton was also the keynote speaker for the Eliminating Barriers to Justice seminar hosted by @GeorgiaStateLaw.  The State Bar YLD Review profiled Juvenile Court Judge Amanda Heath of the Augusta Judicial Circuit. Cobb County has started a peer review court for offenders aged 12 to 17.  

Both the Court of Appeals (one division) and the Supreme Court traveled to other parts of the state to hear oral arguments, the City of Madison and Albany respectively.  The Albany Herald interviewed Chief Justice Melton while he was there.

Data Visualized

The JC/AOC Research staff have been working on visualization tools for Georgia’s Caseload Data.  The Georgia Council of Court Administrators held its annual conference.  We are so pleased that our legal intern, now part-time legal story writer Siarra Carr, has passed the bar, as did Peter Faile, policy analyst for J4C.  Siarra spent a day with Judge Jason Thompson and wrote this profile for us.

The new Judicial Center in Atlanta has reached its “half-way point in construction” and a topping out ceremony is being scheduled.  A Courthouse Line Tribute: One Singular Sensation took place on 11/16 and 11/17 with excellent reviews.

Douglas County FTC staff:  From left, Jenny McDade, Director of Juvenile Programs, Deena Davis, Family Intervention Specialist, Chief Juvenile Judge Peggy Walker, Jill Hopson, Programs Manager, Jennifer King, Assistant Director/Family Treatment Court Coordinator

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) recently awarded Douglas County’s Family Treatment Court an $850,000 grant.  This grant will provide two Case Managers: one to oversee the coordination of services for children whose parents are enrolled in the Court and another to oversee additional clients.  The Family Treatment Court in Douglas County is celebrating its 20th year with 44 graduates and 16 drug-free babies born.

The Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism is accepting nominations for the 20th Annual Justice Robert Benham Awards for Community Service until 11:59p on Monday, December 3, 2018. For more information about the eligibility requirements and the nomination process, or to nominate a lawyer or a judge who meets the eligibility requirements, please visit 

Listen to your AncestryDNA on Spotify

Finally, we will close with a tip from a colleague about making your (or someone you love) DNA dance.  AncestryDNA has teamed up with Spotify that allows those who sign up to create a unique musical playlist inspired by your unique genetic code.  Just enter your AncestryDNA results and Spotify will generate a customized playlist based on the ethnic regions of your origins combined with your listening habits.

Talk to you in December. 

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