Judge Herbert E. Phipps Becomes Chief Judge of Court of Appeals

It’s a 200 mile drive from Baker County to Georgia, but it’s been a much longer road than that for Judge Herbert E. Phipps.  altJudge Phipps, born and reared in rural Baker County, was sworn-in on June 25, 2013, as the 27th Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia in the court’s Atlanta courtroom. 
 
The standing-room only courtroom was filled with family, friends, and peers on the Court of Appeals, justices of the Supreme Court, former appellate judges, trial judges, federal judges, legislators, and other.
 
Chief Judge John J. Ellington welcomed those in attendance for the special occasion. 
Judge Steve Jones, US District Court of GA, recognized Judge Phipps’ family, friends, and distinguished guests in the audience.  Former Chief Judge Edward H. Johnson and Mr. David F. Walbert spoke of Judge Phipps’ career.
 
Judge Phipps, paraphrasing recording artists Sam & Dave, of his election as Chief Judge by his colleagues said,  “You didn’t have to do it, but you did, but you did, and I thank you.”  The newly sworn-in Chief Judge acknowledged his parent who encouraged him and his siblings to dream even though their dreams had been deferred.  He recalled being inspired by Albany attorney C.B King, the only black attorney in the area, to begin visiting court. “I saw no black attorneys, no black judges.”
 
altHe headed to Morehouse College in Atlanta and earned a BA in Political Science in 1964.  Mr. Walbert, a law school classmate, recalled how Phipps travelled through Vietnam, Afghanistan, India, and Thailand in the 1960s. He earned his JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1971, returning to Albany to work with C.B. King.
 
Chief Judge Phipps was appointed as a part-time magistrate and Associate Judge of the State Court of Dougherty County in 1980.  He was appointed to the Juvenile Court of Dougherty County in 1988, then the Superior court in 1995.  In 1999, Gov. Roy Barnes appointed Judge Phipps to the Court of Appeals.
 
His two-year term as Chief Judge began on July 1, 2013.

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