June 2023

Happy Summer Courts Journal Readers!

We hope you enjoyed the Summer Solstice this month. We’re sure those attending the State Bar Annual Meeting in Savannah enjoyed the extra hours of daylight that are a hallmark of June. Thank you very much to the State Bar of Georgia for including the Judicial Council/AOC as an exhibitor at that meeting in honor of our 50th anniversary.  We enjoyed the opportunity to highlight the mission of the Judicial Council/AOC with the legal community and it was wonderful to visit with the many judges and lawyers who stopped by to say hello.  Also at the State Bar Annual Meeting, our Judicial Fellow, Judge Tain Kell (ret.), gave a presentation on the breadth of work performed by the AOC as staff to the Judicial Council, and he and Judge Wade Padgett were given the Judicial Section’s Spirit of Justice Award for, among many other things, their dedication to new judge training and their Good Judge-ment podcast. Congratulations Judge Kell and Judge Padgett!  We also congratulate the winners of the 2023 Hines Awards for Outstanding Advocacy for Children in Dependency Proceedings, that were presented by Justice Charlie Bethel to attorney Dale Austin of the Mountain Judicial Circuit and to the late Tift County DFCS Case Manager Brenda Ford-Pratt, whose daughter & colleagues accepted the award on her behalf.  Kudos to DeKalb County Juvenile Court Judge Vincent Crawford who was awarded the Judge Willie Lovett Award for Advancing the Field of Juvenile Law, to Justice Andrew Pinson who was awarded the Distinguished Judicial Service Award by the State Bar’s Young Lawyers Division, and to Chief Judge Robert W. Chasteen, Jr. of the Cordele Circuit who was presented the prestigious Chief Justice Thomas O. Marshall Professionalism Award from the State Bar’s Bench and Bar Committee for his many years of leadership achievements and professionalism. We also enjoyed remarks by Chief Justice Boggs and Chief Judge Rickman who spoke to Bar members during a plenary session as well as the swearing-in of former DeKalb County State Court Judge, Tony DeCampo, as the new President of the State Bar of Georgia who will serve as a non-voting member of the Judicial Council of Georgia during his tenure.

Chief Justice Boggs and Chief Judge Rickman presenting at the State Bar Annual Meeting.
Hines Award winner Dale Austin (left), Justice Bethel, and Shan Rowe, who accepted the award on behalf of her late mother Brenda Ford-Pratt.
Thank you to all of the judges who stopped by our exhibitor table at the State Bar’s Annual Meeting.

We have new 50th Anniversary videos as well as  “Meet the Members of the Judicial Council” videos.  The week of June 5th was Municipal Court Clerks Week  and Governor Kemp’s proclamation read, “the State of Georgia recognizes the positive impact municipal court clerks have had on its citizens and quality of life.”  The Magistrate Court Clerks from across Georgia gathered for their annual conference in Savannah which included educational sessions on garnishments, default judgments, bankruptcy, and domestic violence issues.  The Access to Justice Committee completed its six-part virtual series, titled Minding the Justice Gap, which was streamed and archived on YouTube, in partnership with Georgia State University College of Law’s Access to Justice Center. Senior Judge William Boyett was honored with a Faithful Service Award presented by the Grants Committee for over 20 years of service to the Judicial Council’s Domestic Violence Grant.

Chief Judge Timothy Hamil’s Judicial Council of Georgia/AOC 50th Anniversary interview.
Chief Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson’s Judicial Council of Georgia/AOC 50th Anniversary interview.
Judge Shawn Rhodes’s Judicial Council of Georgia/AOC 50th Anniversary interview.
Judge Warner Kennon’s Judicial Council of Georgia/AOC 50th Anniversary interview.
Chief Judge D. Scott Smith’s Meet the Members of the Judicial Council profile.
The Governor’s Municipal Court Clerks Week proclamation.
The Magistrate Court Clerks Council met for training in Savannah.

We are in the midst of graduation season, which inspired us to interview Judge Lindsay Burton who shared pictures of students graduating despite the odds against them.  We have enjoyed posts from Justices and Judges either teaching or visiting with students/interns including students from the Justice Robert Benham Law Camp and the Phipps Fellowship. Our own Elaine Johnson recommends reading a child support article written by Tanguler Gray, current Commissioner of OCSS, former Deputy Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Human Services, and our long-time collaborative partner.  We are also happy to provide a summary of the amended rules for legal interpreting that were recently approved by the Supreme Court of Georgia and that take effect January 1, 2024.  Our General Counsel, Jessica Farah, graciously allowed us to do a staff profile of her.

Students from the Justice Robert Benham Law Camp.
Phipps Fellow Daxton Pettus, Judge Gobeil, and summer law clerk Natalya Moody.

The wonderful investiture ceremony of Chief Judge Amanda H. Mercier and Vice Chief Judge Trenton Brown took place on June 22nd. Chief Judge Mercier is the fifth woman to lead the Georgia Court of Appeals. To commemorate, the Court issued an inspiring new lapel pin to honor its history of women judicial leaders. We enjoyed Judge Elizabeth Gobeil’s post about Georgia’s newest holiday, Juneteenth. We read Judge Ben Land’s informative article for the State Bar of Georgia’s General Practice & Trial Section and we are so pleased to learn that he was recently appointed to the Georgia Child Support Commission. Sadly, we share two passings of note to Georgia’s Judicial Branch: Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Faye Sanders Martin and Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Kenneth Followill, who was an inaugural member of the Judicial Council of Georgia.  We leave you with a notice from our favorite Assistant General Counsel, Darron J. Enns.

H.B. 916, the Superior and State Court Appellate Practice Act is effective on July 1, 2023, and will repeal and replace the complex notice of appeal and certiorari review statutes in OCGA Chapters 3 and 4 of Title 5 with a single, modern, logical, and relatively simplified “petition for review” process for superior or state court review of judicial and quasi-judicial decisions from municipal courts, non-Article 6 probate courts, magistrate courts, and other lower judicatories (as defined). To help the Bench, the Bar, and the public prepare for the new petition for review procedure, the Judicial Council of Georgia has produced a training video and materials, which is approved for one hour of CLE and available at jcaoc.georgiacourts.gov/hb916. For judges, please contact your applicable training council for CJE credit information. The following resources are available under Quick Links at jcaoc.georgiacourts.gov/hb916: Bench Card for Judges, Bench Card for Clerks, Citizen’s Guide, Model Petition for Review, and Model Certificate of Payment of Costs. If you have any questions about H.B. 916, amendment recommendations, or concerns, please email: HB916@georgiacourts.gov.

Call on us anytime.  Talk to you in July.

Your JC/AOC Courts Journal team:  Michelle BarclayNoelle Lagueux-AlvarezBruce Shaw, and our contractor, John Ramspott