James May-June 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 10
that position for over a decade. Ashley
Sellers lls that role for Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.
The governor receives recommendations to ll vacancies within the state,
superior and appellate courts from his 25-member
Judicial Nominating Commission co-chaired by
Mark Middleton, Vincent Russo and
Shannon Wallace. Middleton serves
as counsel at Gilbert, Harrell, Sumerford
& Martin, Russo is a partner in the Robwallace
bins Firm, and Wallace is the Blue Ridge
Circuit District Attorney.
After being reconstituted in 2018, the
Georgia Government Transparency and
Campaign Finance Commission began a
new chapter under chairman Jake Evans
who practices at Holland and Knight. This
ve-member ethics panel collects campaign nance reports, issues opinions and dispenses penalties for violations. Former Douglas County ADA David
Emadi is its executive director.
Two attorneys serve on the State Elections Board— Democrat David Worley
and Republican Anh Le.
DISTR ICT AT TOR N EY S
EXE C UT I V E BR AN C H C O M M I T TE E S
The mission of the 10-member Judicial Qualications
Commission is to conduct investigations and hearings
targeting ethical misconduct by judges. Former Cobb
County prosecutor Chuck Boring is its director.
M AY/JUNE 2021
District attorneys direct the power of the state in
their judicial circuits in criminal and many civil cases.
While designated in the judicial branch of Georgia’s
government, prosecutors function as executive branch
officials. Elections last November 3rd saw
ve incumbent district attorneys defeated by voters.
Among notable victors is Flynn
Broady in Cobb County, once a prosecutor in the Cobb County solicitor’s office. The Brunswick
Circuit’s Jackie Johnson was defeated by Keith Higgins, a former assistant DA who ran as an
independent. (Johnson was criticized after
Glynn County police said she advised them
to make no arrests in the high-prole Amhiggins
aud Arbery shooting case.)
In the Augusta Circuit (Burke, Columbia and Richmond counties), the Republican lost by just one percentage point to Democrat defense lawyer Jared
Williams. (That circuit will now split, with
Columbia County becoming an independent
jurisdiction.) In Chatham County, Democrat
Shelena Cook Jones also narrowly beat
GOP incumbent Meg Heap to become district attorney.
Among DAs who deserve special
notice is Fulton County’s new prosecutor Fani Willis. She pledges to prosecute criminal gangs, since she serves in
Georgia’s most populous county and the
state’s capital that is in the midst of a
rising violent crime wave. Also of note are
Willis’ hires of prominent lawyers John
Floyd and Mike Carlson. And DeKalb
DA Sherry Boston is highly inuential in
state/national Democratic Party circles.
Holding a job that is not a gubernatorial appointment, Pete Skandalakis
serves as executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, the
service organization for local prosecutors.
THE JU D ICIAL BRANCH
All state Supreme Court justices, as well as Court
of Appeals judges, must be recognized for the impact
of their decisions. They are listed in a separate chart
accompanying this article. Then there are various judges scattered across counties and cities who t into the
“inuential” category not just because of their rulings
but also because they “make things happen.”
Of course, some on Georgia’s bench deserve special
recognition as drivers of policy and the
development of jurisprudence. The new
chief justice of Georgia’s highest court
is David Nahmias, who takes over for
Harold Melton who retires in July. Sunahmias
preme Court Justice Nels Peterson is especially known
for thoroughly researched opinions, as is
Justice Michael Boggs and Carla Wong
McMillian. Similarly, on the Court of
Appeals, the scholarship of Judge Stephen
Dillard continues to impress. As a former
M c millian
State Bar President and District Attorney, Judge Ken
Hodges is a worthy mention. Clyde Reese has authored
impressive evidence law opinions. And
Court of Appeals Judge Verda Colvin has
an impressive record of integrity as a trial
judge and former federal prosecutor, as is
another former district attorney-turned-aphodges
pellate judge Brian Rickman.
MAY/J UN E 2 0 2 1