Tell us about your background.
I spent my early childhood in Tifton, Georgia. My family later moved to Eatonton, Georgia, where I continue to live with my wife, Jill, and our two children.
I have a degree in economics from the University of Georgia and a law degree from Mercer Law School.
Tell us a little about you and your legal career prior to becoming a judge.
I maintained a general law practice in Putnam and Greene counties for nearly 13 years. In 2008, I was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to the State Court of Putnam County and was elected in a contested race later that year. In 2012, I was appointed by Gov. Deal to the Superior Court of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, a circuit which includes eight Middle Georgia counties. I was then elected in uncontested races in 2014 and 2018.
What appealed to you about being a judge?
As a judge, I enjoy having the ability to serve my community and state while also exploring the legal profession. I also always find it rewarding to apply the laws of our state to resolve disputes that have arisen between parties.
Did you always dream/plan to be a judge?
From the time I interned with Ocmulgee Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright’s office and appeared in court under the Third Year Practice Act to my eventual work in private practice, I always hoped for the opportunity to serve as judge. I thoroughly enjoyed my work on the trial bench and continue to enjoy serving on the Court of Appeals.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The legal profession allows the potential to provide for my family, the benefit of a constant education, and the satisfaction of serving my community and the people of Georgia.
As a judge on the Court of Appeals, I enjoy the opportunity to serve Georgia in my chosen profession. I am also honored to serve with my distinguished colleagues and staff members on the Court.
Is there any advice you would give to a recent law school graduate? Or someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Get out of your office and become involved in your community and beyond. Take advantage of opportunities that arise.
How did you make the decision to attend Mercer Law School?
I grew up in Middle Georgia and knew Mercer Law to have a great reputation, and its atmosphere was exactly what I wanted. I also felt that Mercer Law fostered graduates who would go back to work in their own communities, as I wanted to do.
What are the values or skills you learned from law school that help you in your typical day as a judge?
Logical thinking and a solid foundation in the rule of law and legal processes, as well as the ability to apply that knowledge in the context of providing for an impartial hearing and treating all parties with dignity and respect.
Looking back, what are some of your best memories or experiences from Mercer Law (friends made, favorite classes, favorite professors)?
I have very fond memories of my continued education at Mercer Law. Many of the relationships cultivated there have continued as integral parts of my personal and professional lives.
I have high regard for the professors of Mercer Law and the education they provided me, but two professors stand out in particular – Jim Fleissner and Michael Sabbath. Sabbath for his engaging and personable delivery in the classroom and Fleissner for his application of real-world experiences to the day’s subject matter.
What piece of advice would you give current Mercer Law students?
First and foremost, focus on your studies. Additionally, do not discount the opportunities available in smaller communities. While large firms in metro areas afford great opportunities in the legal profession, the quality of life in a solo or small office practice can be equally as rewarding and can also lead to opportunities for growth and service in the larger community.
I’ve enjoyed a great quality of life, professional and personal, in my years of practice in Middle Georgia.