December 2021

Seasons Greetings Courts Journal Readers!

What a year it has been with so many ups (vaccines) and downs (variants). Once again, progress in overcoming this pandemic is not linear, but in spite of everything, December was a productive month.  A Judicial Council General Session, chaired by Chief Justice Nahmias, was held on the 10th and was also live streamed and archived. During that meeting, Presiding Justice Boggs presented an update on the Council’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funding process, Justice LaGrua discussed updating the Pandemic Benchbook, and retiring Chief Judge David Emerson was honored with an Amicus Curiae Award for his many years of service to the Judicial Council and to the Georgia judicial branch.  At that same meeting, Director Clanton presented our Annual Report for fiscal year 2021.  We are pleased to report that the first round of ARPA grants have been determined by the Judicial Council’s ARPA Committee and formal award letters went out this past week.  The second ARPA grant application window will be open from January 1, 2022, to January 15, 2022.

The December 10, 2021 Judicial Council General Session.
Chief Justice David Nahmias presented Douglas Superior Court Chief Judge David Emerson with the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Amicus Curiae Award.

First proclaimed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bill of Rights Day is celebrated every year on December 15th.  To honor the occasion this year, the Judicial Council of Georgia asked judicial leaders from every class of court to record a video of themselves reading one of the ten amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights.  Those videos were then compiled and animated, in collaboration with a graphic designer, to create this lovely video which now lives on our civics page.  We shared that video with our contacts at the Georgia DOE, particularly social studies teachers, as well as the general public to good press.  Thank you to all the judges who set up their own cameras to videotape themselves for this civics education effort.  We got positive feedback on the finished product.  We appreciated Piedmont Judicial Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge Joseph Booth, Superior Court Judge Currie Mingledorff, and Juvenile Court Judge Nancy Ragsdale taking the time to speak with 8th graders at their local middle school, the Barrow Arts & Sciences Academy.  We also loved this history event (Fireside Chat: Reminiscences and Ethics in Appellate Practice and the Three Governors Case: Its History & Significance) provided in honor of the 175th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Georgia, which are archived in case you missed them.

A Celebration of the Bill of Rights
In partnership with the Georgia Legal History Foundation, the Supreme Court of Georgia hosted a seminar on the Court’s history for its 175th anniversary.
Judge Currie Mingledorff (left) and Chief Judge Joe Booth (top right) of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit Superior Court, and Judge Nancy Ragsdale (bottom right) of the Barrow County Juvenile Court spoke to 8th graders about the judiciary’s role in state government.

We thank Council of Magistrate Court Judges’ President Judge Quinn Kasper for speaking at our December all staff meetingJudge Thomas Lakes, current President of the Council of Probate Court Judges, joined “The Good Judge-ment Podcast” to discuss traffic jurisdiction in probate court.  We very much enjoyed doing a brief interview with Juvenile Court Judge Lindsay Burton about her newly-created tutoring services for youth in grades 7-12 who have been placed on probation.  The Georgia Child Support Commission met this month, chaired by Judge Michael Key.  The Supreme Court of Georgia’s Justice for Children Committee also met this month with Chief Justice Nahmias, Justice Bethel, and Director Diana Rugh Johnson

Judge Quinn Kasper spoke at the JC/AOC all staff meeting in December.
We interviewed Chief Judge Lindsay Burton of the Northeastern Circuit Juvenile Courts about Hall County’s tutoring program.
Left to Right: Georgia CIP Director Diana Rugh Johnson, Justice Charlie Bethel and Chief Justice David Nahmias at the December Committee on Justice for Children meeting.

We listened to a recent podcast featuring Justice BethelJudge Andrew Pinson had a nice profile in the Daily Report where we also learned what we can expect from the Court of Appeals in 2022.  We loved Chief Judge Rob Leonard’s post about his administrative assistant’s gingerbread contest entry, which included a recreation of the building from the movie Die Hard.  We enjoyed Judge Doyle’s foray into TikTok as well as her Christmas tree posts.   We read Karlise Grier’s article on Professionalism After the Statewide Judicial Emergency.  We also read about the upcoming Horace Johnson lecture happening on January 26 Chief Magistrate Court Judge Berryl Anderson hosted a virtual wellness session in partnership with the NCJFCJ.  She inspired us to update our wellness page and we leave you with her strongest message from that effort:

“In this season of giving to others, consider giving yourself the gift of wellness. You have to be intentional about putting yourself first, it does not come naturally. Physical and emotional well being are essential tools in our toolbox as we administer justice. It is especially vital as we navigate the pandemic. The journey to wellness is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Rob Leonard’s administrative assistant submitted this masterpiece for a gingerbread house competition.
DeKalb County Chief Magistrate Court Judge Berryl Anderson participated in a wellness seminar for NCJFCJ.

Call on us anytime.  Talk to you in January.

Your JC/AOC Courts Journal team:  Michelle Barclay, Noelle Lagueux-Alvarez, Bruce Shaw, and our contractor, John Ramspott