“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller –
Over the past two years, west Georgia has seen a number of significant changes in the judiciary.
We have a number of new judges including:
- Deah Warren – Superior Court Judge – Douglas Judicial Circuit (Douglas County);
- Andrew Roper – Superior Court Judge – Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit (Haralson and Polk counties);
- Crystal Bice – Chief Judge – Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court;
- Erica Tisinger – About a year after winning her election to become our state court judge, Governor Kemp appointed Judge Tisinger to become the 7th superior court judge in the Coweta Judicial Circuit (Carroll, Coweta, Troup, Heard, and Meriwether counties); and
- Michael Hubbard – After being appointed Chief Magistrate of Carroll County, Governor Kemp appointed him to Chief Judge of the State Court of Carroll County after Judge Tisinger was appointed to the superior court.
These changes left Chief Judge John Simpson with a decision. Who would best serve the community as Chief Magistrate Judge?
While there were plenty of qualified candidates, Judge Simpson appointed one of the most dedicated lawyers in our area to become the new judge; Nathaniel Smith.
I have known Judge Smith for over two decades. His nephew, Nehemiah, and my oldest son, Jake, are close friends. Nehemiah is a teenager with few words until he is asked to say the opening or closing prayer when we have devotions. I have only seen two people with his gift.
Judge Smith’s character was forged by his mother. His father passed away before he was born. Thankfully, his mother was a strong and loving figure in his life and ensured that her children would have the skills to survive. Her famous saying was, “I can teach you how to make it in this world, but I cannot teach you how to be a man.” She was also a Christian and instilled Biblical values to all of her children.
Smith implemented these life skills throughout his childhood and adolescent years. His journey toward manhood would be lead by mentors like Gerry Word.
Soon, he enrolled at the University of West Georgia and graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice in 1994.
Later, he would obtain his law degree in Oklahoma. Smith says that, “Oklahoma is known for tornadoes. It is disappointing that the state is not known for the friendly tight communities that always help their neighbors.”
Judge Smith and his brothers always had a passion to serve our country. After law school, Smith enlisted in the United States Navy. As a Petty Officer, he was assigned to a number of intelligence units.
During his eight years of service, he analyzed data critical to our national security and participated with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in joint operations in the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Yet, while he was serving our country, he could not suppress the passion for helping others on an individual basis. Unlike some people, Smith was blessed with a passion. Money has never been his motivating factor.
Judge Smith was honorably discharged and returned to his true home; west Georgia.
Smith started a private practice, became a juvenile court prosecutor, and served as a guardian ad litem (the protector of children.)
Since Judge Smith started his private practice, he has had a positive impact on our community. For many years, he has assisted delinquent children into becoming good citizens, prosecuted violent people who threaten our safety, and effectively represented many people in need across west Georgia.
Now is the time for him to take a new role.
As Chief Magistrate, I am certain that Nathaniel Smith will serve with distinction, be impartial, and have the temperament that all judges should possess.
As Papa James used to say, Nathaniel is “good people.”
Please join me in congratulating Judge Nathaniel Smith.