Greetings Courts Journal Readers:
We hope everyone in the Georgia judicial branch enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving. November reminds us to express gratitude and it is also National Veteran and Military Families Month. Our staff worked with the Council of Accountability Court Judges to create a series of posts thanking the judges who preside over Veterans Treatment Courts throughout our state, including the designated model courts. We asked those judges for quotes from veterans graduating from their programs, some of whom have experienced multiple deployments, and received back many especially moving sentiments. Likewise, we enjoyed reading this article about “neighbors helping neighbors” in the Fayette County Accountability Court. We are also grateful for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that has been designated for Georgia courts and which was discussed during a live streamed Judicial Council Emergency Session. A new Judicial Council Ad Hoc Committee on American Rescue Plan Act Funding has been created and its first meeting, chaired by Presiding Justice Michael Boggs, was held on November 3. The Judicial Council’s ARPA Committee plans to accept applications from judicial circuits and appellate courts in several cycles and the full schedule may be found at this link. The grant application period for the first grant cycle opened on November 10 and closes November 30. A second grant application period is set for January 1-15, 2022. For more information on ARPA funds generally, please see: https://jcaoc.georgiacourts.gov/arpa.
Presiding Justice Boggs has also been busy, along with Chief Judge Brian Amero, providing leadership for the Governor’s Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission’s subcommittees on Mental Health Courts & Corrections and Involuntary Commitments. We enjoyed having Chief Judge David Emerson speak at our November JC/AOC All Staff Meeting. The Judicial COVID-19 Task Force continues to meet to learn about successes and obstacles for resolving civil cases as well as progress on criminal calendars. The Supreme Court of Georgia’s Justice for Children (J4C) Committee, along with many partners, held its 5th successful Child Welfare Summit which inspired us to interview the new J4C Director, Diana Rugh Johnson (former Juvenile Court Judge pro tem in DeKalb County). Chief Justice Nahmias was the opening speaker at the Summit and announced that nominations for the 2022 Hines Awards are now open. The Supreme Court of Georgia has partnered with the Georgia Legal History Foundation to celebrate the Court’s 175th anniversary on December 2-3, 2021. For more information about that celebration, please see: https://www.georgialegalhistory.org/.
We continue to update our Meet the Members of the Judicial Council of Georgia web page. This month, we feature Council of Juvenile Court Judges President, Chief Judge Greg Price, who previously had a career as a musician and music teacher, and who is currently developing a sailing hobby. We thank Daphne Walker from Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs, Cobb County Chief Magistrate Court Judge Brendan Murphy, Justice Verda Colvin, and our own Judge Tabitha Ponder, who staffs the Judicial Council’s Access to Justice Committee and serves on the Magistrate Court bench in Cobb County, for participating in the “Emergency Rental Assistance Resources for Courts” webinar which is archived here. In case you missed it, there is a new Georgia’s Court Professionals Newsletter, written by JC/AOC staffer John Botero. We are enjoying the profiles of the new law clerks serving at the Supreme Court of Georgia. We liked this picture posted by Judge Thompson of multiple Georgia judges attending the Judicial Decision Making Conference hosted by the National Judicial College. November 20th was National Adoption Day and we loved the pictures from the Courtroom of Chief Superior Court Judge Robert S. Reeves of the Middle Judicial Circuit. We enjoyed some lightheartedness and a chuckle over Chief Judge Robert Leonard’s viral moment over his ban of the Elf on the Shelf which prompted a comment from the company itself, noting that, nonetheless, Chief Judge Leonard remains on the “nice” list. The AJC has since reported that the order has been rescinded.
Congratulations to Judge Patsy Y. Porter of Fulton County, who was honored with the Ogden Doremus/Kent Lawrence Award by the Council of State Court Judges. Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley had a positive national press profile. We smiled at Judge Lori Duff’s repost of the Canadian Supreme Court’s official picture. We thank Justice LaGrua for speaking about equity in justice recently. We listened to three great episodes of the Good Judge-ment podcast, Episodes: 72 Wade and Tain’s Pet Peeves, 73 Immunity Hearings, and 74 Judicial Reporting Requirements. We mourn the loss of our former colleague, Chris Patterson, who served on the staffs of the AOC and the Municipal Court of Atlanta. We close with a wellness tip from the Harvard Business Review which notes that “experiences of awe” cultivate gratitude beyond November and refresh our energy. For inspiration, we leave you with this awe experience–an amazing video of our sun.
Call on us anytime. Talk to you in December.
Your JC/AOC Courts Journal team: Michelle Barclay, Noelle Lagueux-Alvarez, Bruce Shaw, and our contractor, John Ramspott