ATLANTA, GA (WTVM) - Presiding Justice Hugh P. Thompson of Milledgeville, GA has been unanimously elected as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. He will assume the position Aug. 15, 2013, succeeding Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein.
The Court has also unanimously elected Justice P. Harris Hines to become the new Presiding Justice.
The state's Chief Justice presides over Georgia's judicial branch, just as the governor heads the executive branch of government, and House and Senate leaders lead the legislative branch. The Presiding Justice serves in his absence. The Chief Justice is the main spokesperson for the Court, as well as for the entire judiciary. He presides over oral arguments and runs the meetings in which the Court makes its decisions, although he has only one vote as does each of the Justices. The Chief Justice, who serves one 4-year term, also chairs the Georgia Judicial Council, which governs all levels of the state's courts.
Presiding Justice Thompson was Chief Judge of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit when Gov. Zell Miller appointed him in 1994 to the Georgia Supreme Court. Prior to that, he served as president of the statewide Council of Superior Court Judges. Among numerous awards, he has received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Mercer University Law School Alumni, the Distinguished Achievement Award from Georgia College and State University, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Baldwin County Bar Association, the Outstanding Public Service Award from the Milledgeville Kiwanis Club and the Distinguished Service Award from the Milledgeville Jaycees. He and his wife, Jane, have two grown sons.
Justice Hines served as Superior Court Judge of the Cobb Judicial Circuit for more than 12 years before Gov. Miller appointed him to the state Supreme Court in 1995. He spent the previous eight years as a state court judge in Cobb County. In 1969, he joined the law firm of Edwards, Bentley, Awtrey & Parker of Marietta, GA where he became a partner in 1973. An Atlanta native, Justice Hines graduated from Henry W. Grady High School, Emory University and Emory University School of Law. For the last 12 years, he has served as Chairman of the Georgia Supreme Court's Committee on Justice for Children. He and his wife, Helen, have two grown children.