Happy Summer Courts Journal readers:
June kicked off with lots of news out of the State Bar of Georgia’s Annual Meeting which was partially live-streamed and archived. At that meeting, Justice Bethel presented the Justice P. Harris Hines Awards for outstanding child advocacy in dependency proceedings to Hall County DFCS Supervisor and Case Manager, Katie Hamm, and Rockdale County DFCS Special Assistant Attorney General and Child Welfare Law Specialist, Jennifer Cline. Attorney Donald Lee, also a Child Welfare Law Specialist, was given the Judge Willie Lovett Award. Chief Justice Nahmias addressed the attendees of the Annual Meeting remotely, noting his gratitude to Bar leaders, Bar staff, and the many volunteer lawyers who serve on State Bar committees for their important contributions to our justice system and Chief Judge Rickman announced that requests to appear virtually will be a fixture of the Court of Appeals. Presiding Justice Boggs swore in the State Bar’s new officers and, during a meeting of the State Bar’s Judicial Section, Judge Dear Jackson emceed, Judge Heath gave opening remarks, Presiding Judge Dillard, Justice LaGrua, Vice Chief Judge Mercier, and Judge Pipkin participated in a panel discussion, and the Judicial Section’s Spirit of Justice Award was given to the AOC for its dedication to serving the judiciary! We are deeply grateful. Justice Colvin presided over a Diversity of Bars Meeting and several judges attended a presentation by attorney Ira Foster titled “The Road Map to Law School” which received some favorable press.
Our JC/AOC Legislative Team has published its annual Summary of Enacted Legislation as a convenient reference containing summaries of bills and resolutions pertinent to the Georgia judiciary passed by the 156th Georgia General Assembly during the 2022 Regular Session. We also took the opportunity to interview JC/AOC Senior Assistant Director, Tracy Mason, who is amazing in case you didn’t know. The Judicial Council’s Grants Committee and Access to Justice Committee met in June. Over 130 clerks and judges attended the Magistrate Court Clerks’ Annual Training which was most successful. Summer means interns and we’ve enjoyed the posts about various summer internships in judicial offices. We heard Justice Nels Peterson’s presentation to summer interns had a rapt audience. We also loved learning about Justice LaGrua’s engagement with the Gate City Bar’s Justice Robert Benham Law Camp, Wayne County’s week-long summer camp with Judge Bennett, and our own Noelle Lagueux-Alvarez who takes vacation leave to run a week-long mock trial camp called “CourtCamp”. Kudos to Judge Edlein, Judge Tailor, and partners for their Fulton County DUI Court graduation and to Judge Johnson and the Fulton judges who are performing free weddings for the month of June. The Municipal Court Judges elected new officers for their Council and gave multiple awards for various achievements including: Judge Gary Jackson; Judge Jennifer Mann; Chief Judge Michael Nation; Chief Judge Gregory Williams; Chief Judge Norman H. Cuadra; Chief Judge Margaret Washburn; Chief Judge Charles Barrett and our own staffers, LaShawn Murphy, Cheryl Karounos, Tracy Mason, and Darron Enns.
The portrait unveiling of retired Justice Carol Hunstein took place on June 16th. Remarks by Chief Justice Nahmias, Linda Klein, and Justice Hunstein were quite moving as was the portrait itself. The Judicial Council’s Access to Justice Contract Attorney and Cobb County Magistrate Court Judge, Tabitha Ponder, worked with many partners to host Town Hall meetings to provide Record Restriction Clinic information and registration opportunities over the Juneteenth holiday weekend. Incoming Council of Magistrate Court Judges President Judge Rebecca Pitts and new Magistrate Court Training Council Chair Judge Megan Kinsey bid a fond farewell to ICJE Event Coordinator Lindsey Colley. The Magistrate Court of Cobb County’s Emergency Rental Assistance program received a deserved commendation. Our iCivics partnership continues to develop with monthly meetings, and you can still sign up to be included. We’ve begun planning an event for Constitution Day (Sept 17th) and we will be in touch. Out of collaboration with our iCivics partners, the Judicial Council’s “Be Proud to Read Aloud” video series featuring Georgia judges reading children’s books about the 19th Amendment was selected to be in the Georgia Family Connection Partnership’s summer resource guide for parents at GeorgiaSummer.org. We urge you to check out the BJA website and social media where there are many grant opportunities to implement Justice Counts initiatives. For more information on the Justice Counts Initiative–whose National Steering Committee is chaired by Presiding Justice Boggs– visit: https://justicecounts.csgjusticecenter.org.
Chief Justice Nahmias’s last day presiding over oral argument was June 23rd and was widely attended and live-streamed, garnering press coverage. Chief Justice Nahmias also participated in a wellness podcast earlier in the month with Lynn Garson of the State Bar Wellness Committee. Be sure to listen to the Good Judge-ment podcast: Ep. 92: Retaliation and Sentencing and Ep 93: Family Violence & Stalking TPOs, Part I. Also, check out the stories and inspiring pictures in the Council of Accountability Court Judges’ Monthly Newsletter. Presiding Justice Boggs and Judge Lakes participated in a seminar on Pretrial Justice in Georgia: Lessons Learned from Local and National Practice at GSU School of Law. Retiring Atlanta Legal Aid Executive Director Steve Gottlieb was presented with an Amicus Curiae Award at the Supreme Court of Georgia highlighting his decades of service. We also learned that Judge Walter Davis of the Georgia State-wide Business Court has resigned, effective upon the swearing-in of his successor. He leaves a solid foundation behind. We were sorry to learn about the passing of longtime Chattahoochee County Probate Court Judge James McGlaun. We send condolences to his family, friends, and the citizens he served. We leave you with this quote by Presiding Justice Boggs about Chief Justice Nahmias.
Call on us anytime. Talk to you in July.