“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates –
Since COVID attacked the United States, the justice system, and other institutions have been working overtime to fully address the problem. The main objectives are to move cases forward while protecting Constitutional rights, and ensuring that clients are well taken care of.
During this time, west Georgia also experienced the largest change in judges in history.
Here are some examples:
- Douglas – Judge Deah Warren is appointed by the governor after the retirement of Chief Judge David Emerson;
- Polk/Haralson – Judge Andrew Roper is elected to the superior court.
- Coweta Judicial Circuit –
a. Judge Michael Hubbard is appointed by Chief Judge John Simpson to serve as chief magistrate after the untimely passing of Judge Alton P. Johnson.
b. Judge Erica Tisinger is elected to the bench in the State Court of Carroll Co.
c. Within just a few months, Tisinger is appointed by the governor to be our 7th superior court justice.
d. The governor asks for nominations to fill the position of state court. Chief Magistrate Court Judge Hubbard is appointed to this position for reasons I will mention below.
e. Now, Judge Simpson must fill the important position of chief magistrate.
f. Last, the Coweta Judicial Circuit will have the 8th superior court judge when the governor decides to make the appointment, which should be in the late spring.
Based on our collective decision at the polls, we have placed these public servants into their important roles. We must support them as they find new and efficient ways to dig out of the COVID backlog.
While most have given a tremendous amount of their lives to conquering COVID and the backlog, Judge Hubbard has done what few people can carry out.
Fall – 2012 – west Georgia – Karen Hubbard, a 42 year old mother of two, former member of the Douglasville Police Department, and Clerk of the Municipal Court of Douglasville suffers a traumatic brain injury. Doctors termed it an “out of nowhere, unforeseeable, catastrophic injury to the brain.” When Karen arrived at the hospital, she was immediately set for surgery. While she was not expected to survive the surgery, she did so and spent nine months in the hospital, much of which was in ICU. God and medical personnel were able to save her life. Michael Hubbard was by her side the whole time and continues to express his loyalty to his wife.
I will never forget the call he made to me as he rushed to the hospital. It will live with me for the rest of my life. I am very pleased to report that Karen is doing well and makes strides every day.
Karen and Mike are both lifelong west Georgia residents. Before he became a full time judge, Mike was a successful solo practitioner and, served as the solicitor for the City of Villa Rica for over four years, and served our county as the Municipal Judge of Villa Rica for many years after that.
I expect that Judge Hubbard will continue to do what he has always done; the right thing.
What about magistrate court?
Judge Simpson must appoint another judge to fill Hubbard’s magistrate position. There are some very qualified candidates who have the character, experience, and fundraising ability to succeed in the “Peoples’ Court.”
I strongly encourage our community to keep an eye on this appointment. Judge Simpson has a history of appointing quality people to important positions who serve the people rather than themselves.
What about the backlog?
While everyone is frustrated about the post-COVID rules and procedures, almost every lawyer, judge, clerk, support personnel, and many others are working to ensure that people are not left in jail awaiting trial, left to wait for relief of alimony payments, or just left out.
If we focus on building the new with our high quality judiciary, then we can leave the past behind and defeat whatever is in our future.