Appellate Court Transitions

The summer months were especially busy for Georgia's Appellate Courts with two retirements and three appointments and a portrait ceremony.
Supreme Court
Justice Keith Blackwell is administered the oath of office by Gov. Nathan Deal.Justice Keith Blackwell was sworn-in as associate justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia on July 19, 2012, by Gov. Nathan Deal.   Prior to his appointment to the state’s highest court, Justice Blackwell was appointed to the Court of Appeals of Georgia on November 10, 2010 by Gov. Sonny Perdue.  His appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice George H. Carley on July 17, 2012.   
 
Upon Justice Carley’s retirement, Justice Carol W. Hunstein resumed her role as Chief Justice; Justice Hugh P. Thompson was elected to serve as Presiding Justice.
 
Court of Appeals
 
Presiding Judge Charles B. Mikell retired from the Court of Appeals on August 31, 2012.  Judge Mikell was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Roy Barnes in 2001; he served as superior and state court judge in Chatham County prior to his appellate appointment.
 
Gov. Deal’s elevation of Judge Keith Blackwell to the Supreme Court created a vacancy on the Court of Appeals which was filled by the appointment of Judge William M. Ray, II, on July 30, 2012.  Judge Ray (below) served as superior court judge in the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit since January 2002.

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Gov. Deal appointed Judge Elizabeth Branch (below) to fill the vacancy created by Judge Mikell’s retirement.  Judge Branch was sworn-in on September 4, 2012.  Prior to her appointment, Judge Branch was an associate in the Atlanta law firm Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

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