A few months ago, I had the opportunity to interview one of our newest judges in the west Georgia area, Bill Hamrick. As many of you know, we have another judge who took the bench in January of this year. He is superior court Judge Emory Palmer.
I recently had an opportunity to chat with Judge Palmer and talk about his new job serving the people of west Georgia.
To provide some background, I was introduced to Emory Palmer over a year ago by my best friend in law school, Nathan Lee. Nathan spoke very highly of Palmer. That was all I needed to hear to know that Emory Palmer was a good man. Over the past few months, I have gotten to know Judge Palmer on a personal and professional basis.
Judge Palmer’s roots run deep in our community. His family goes back six generations in the west Georgia area. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Newnan with their two boys.
After graduating from high school, Judge Palmer chose to serve our country by joining the United States Marine Corps. He served for four years primarily as a code operator in the Pacific. As the first Gulf War erupted, he was stationed in the Persian Gulf.
After his military service, Palmer graduated from college and went on to earn a law degree from the University of Georgia. He practiced law for a number of years. The last six years he worked as a partner in the law firm of Carr & Palmer.
However, Judge Palmer told me that for many years, he would eventually seek to become a judge. At the age of 43, he is now the newest superior court judge in the Coweta Judicial Circuit.
A little more than four months into the job, I asked him why he wanted to become a judge. He said that it was primarily out of a sense of duty to the community. During our conversation, Judge Palmer mentioned the word “community” many times. He believes that he has an obligation to contribute to the lives of the people we see every day.
He also believes that this contribution is the most enjoyable aspect of his position. “There is nothing more satisfying than making a positive meaningful impact on someone else’s life.”
There are challenges as well. Judge Palmer knew about some of the challenges he would face before he was elected in 2012. He is facing those challenges today. According to Palmer, the most difficult aspect of serving on the bench is making decisions on a daily basis that have a massive impact on the lives of the people who appear in court.
However, as with other challenges he has faced, Judge Palmer allows his faith to guide him. I appreciate that because I try my best to do the same with the challenges that I face with my criminal cases.
I think the most important part of our interview was my questions about Judge Palmer’s view of the Constitution and the legislature. As a student of history and military veteran, he is keenly aware of the sacrifice men and women have made for over 200 years in establishing and protecting the Constitution. He believes in following the plain language of the Constitution and state laws. In fact, Judge Palmer’s view of the role of the courts is to “act as a safeguard” for the Constitution. Without judges who are mindful of the sacrifice and intent of our Founding Fathers, the Constitution loses its relevance and importance.
I sense that Judge Palmer will serve our community for many years to come. I have also appeared before him in court a number of times and am pleased with his demeanor, judicial temperament, and knowledge of the law.
As a lawyer, you will not always agree with the decisions that a judge makes. However, I believe that our community has a bright future benefitting from the service of our newest judge, Emory Palmer.