May 2022

Greetings Courts Journal readers:

May kicked off with a multitude of Law Day celebrations and we enjoyed the postings by the many judges who spoke at  Law Day events, including: Justice Ellington for the Gwinnett Bar Association, Judge Hodges for the Blue Ridge Bar Association and the Rotary Club of Canton, and Presiding Judge Dillard and Presiding Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes at the Clayton County Juvenile Court.   We also enjoyed pictures from several Georgia judges who attended school ceremonies to present award medals to our Judicial Council Law Day Art Contest winners. We appreciate you Chief Judge Jeffrey Bagley, Chief Judge Cassandra Kirk, and Judge Maureen Wood for those efforts!  We are inspired by the dedication of the Forsyth County Courts to civics education especially by offering hands-on experiences to students.   We also loved Judge Beasley’s promotion of iCivics in her keynote speech at the GAWL Annual Meeting where Justice Colvin swore in new members of the GAWL Board.  We are in need of judicial champions for our new partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement and the Georgia Family Connection Partnership. If interested, please sign up here!  Also, Senate Bill 220, the Georgia Civic Renewal Act, was just signed into law creating a bi-partisan Commission on Civic Education with the express purpose of “promoting and enhancing the education of students on the importance of civic involvement in a constitutional republic, the study of state and local government among the state’s citizenry, the importance of civic engagement and public service, and communication and collaboration among organizations in the state that conduct civics education.”  Justice Bethel will be serving as the Supreme Court representative for that commission.   Justice LaGrua contributed to civics education when she hosted and participated in a mock oral argument with Alpharetta High School students.

Judges participated in Law Day discussions around the state.
Retired Court of Appeals Judge Dorothy Beasley speaking at the GAWL Annual Meeting.
2022 Law Day Art Contest winners received their medals this month.

Everyone was moved by the unveiling of the portrait of former Chief Justice P. Harris Hines, and a video of that special presentation was archived by the Supreme Court of Georgia.  Former Chief Justice Melton spoke at that presentation, recalling his beloved colleague’s intellectual commitment and fidelity to the law, penchant to be slow, love of fellowship over lunch, and devotion to his wife, Helen Hines, who also gave wonderful remarks about her late husband at the portrait unveiling ceremony. The Judicial Council Ad Hoc Committee on ARPA Funding met on Friday, May 13, to award grants to judicial circuits that applied for funding during the April 2022 cycle, and you may read the list of all awards here and here.  The Judicial COVID-19 Task Force met this month as did the Judicial Council’s Technology Committee The Judicial Council’s Access to Justice Committee held a Record Restriction Clinic in Albany this month–serving a great need and garnering a strong community response in terms of clinic participants, volunteer lawyers, and community organizations offering additional services to clinic participants.  We enjoyed attending the State Bar of Georgia’s Committee to Promote Inclusion in the Profession’s  annual  Commitment to Equality Awards.  This year’s honorees included Judge Wong and our own Judge Ponder who staffs the Judicial Council’s Access to Justice Committee. You may view short videos of their wonderful remarks when accepting their awards.  Thank you Judge Kenya Johnson for speaking at our monthly staff meeting.  We loved learning about all the work you do off the bench.

The family of former Chief Justice Harris Hines unveils his portrait at the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Judges Alvin Wong and Tabitha Ponder at the State Bar of Georgia’s Commitment to Equality Awards.

The Council of State Court Judges, the Council of Probate Court Judges, and the Council of Juvenile Court Judges held successful conferences this month. We love Judge Thompson’s Star Wars suit which he wears on May 4th to say “May the 4th be with you” but he was also promoting an Open House at his court as well as the People’s Law School which was hosted in Fayette County starting on May 17.  May is always filled with graduations, and we noted a number of judges and justices delivering commencement addresses including: Presiding Justice Boggs; Justice McMillian; and Judge Rhonda Kreuziger.  We’d love some pictures or video if you spoke at a graduation this month.  Please send those to any of us on the JC/AOC Communications Team, our email addresses are linked to our names listed below.  Spreading the news of your community work also promotes the judicial branch of Georgia which inspires trust from our fellow Georgians and enhances the professional and ethical image of the judiciary, which happens to be part of the Judicial Council’s Strategic Plan.  The Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children met this month to discuss its important work, to provide updates to all members, and to say farewell to Chief Justice Nahmias who served as Chair for seven years and who passed the gavel to Justice Bethel.  The Justice for Children Committee also held a Multi-Disciplinary Child Abuse an Neglect Institute (“MD-CANI”) meeting for the Gwinnett County Juvenile Court Community.

Several court councils held successful conferences in May.
Presiding Justice Boggs and Justice McMillian giving commencement addresses.
Chief Justice Nahmias and Justice Bethel at the Committee on Justice for Children meeting.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and we posted this collage to recognize and honor all of our AAPI judges.  As Judge Wong recently said, “the key to diversity, equity, and inclusion is opportunity”.  We were honored to interview Lynne Nelson Moore, new executive director of ICJE, and Christine Liu, an application developer for the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts. Congratulations to Judge Edlein who received an Outstanding Woman in the Profession Award from the Atlanta Bar. Finally, we end with an inspiring post by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Rickman who did the Ironman 70.3 on the Gulf Coast!  What an accomplishment. Congratulations!

Call on us anytime.  Talk to you in June.

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