While my "day job" involves representing individuals and families in serious injury and wrongful death cases across Georgia, part-time public service is also important. This doesn’t hurt clients, as the time devoted to public service is counterbalanced over time by the exposure and insights gained.
The following article appears in today’s Fulton County Daily Report:
All 13 members of the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform, a panel of legislators, judges and attorneys charged with studying the state’s courts and recommending ways to improve them, have now been named.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s office issued a statement Monday afternoon outlining his appointees, as well as those of the lieutenant governor, speaker of the House and state Supreme Court chief justice.
The members chosen by Deal are his executive counsel D. Todd Markle (to serve in place of the governor); Douglas County District Attorney J. David McDade; Judicial Qualifications Commission member Linda Evans—who is also the wife of former Georgia Republican Party general counsel J. Randolph Evans; and State Bar President-elect Kenneth L. Shigley.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle tapped Senate Ethics Committee Chairman John Crosby, R-Tifton; Senate Judiciary Chairman Bill Hamrick, R-Carrollton; and Senate Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Ramsey Sr., D-Decatur.
House Speaker David E. Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, appointed Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, an attorney; Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, an attorney and former mayor; and House Special Rules Committee Chairman Willie Talton, R-Warner Robins.
On May 6, Chief Justice Carol Hunstein affirmed that she will sit on the panel and also named Atlanta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Ural D. L. Glanville, a former Fulton County magistrate, and Waycross Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Michael P. Boggs, a former Democratic state representative.
Deal signed House Bill 265, which created the special council, last month in his son’s courtroom in Hall County. The council must report its findings and recommendations to next year’s General Assembly.
“With this council now in place, it is our hope to uncover new approaches to make Georgia communities safer while increasing offender accountability, improving rehabilitation efforts and lowering costs,” Deal said in a written statement. “While this effort should ultimately uncover strategies that will save taxpayer dollars, we are first and foremost attacking the human costs of a society with too much crime, too many people behind bars, too many children growing up without a much-needed parent and too many wasted lives.”
Deal, Hunstein and others already have suggested that the council should consider the effectiveness of accountability courts, such as DUI, drug and mental health court programs that offer alternative sentencing and rehabilitation programs for non-violent offenders, as well as giving judges more discretion at sentencing and thus eliminating some mandatory minimums.
Several of the council members attended a one-day conference on May 6 hosted by the American Bar Association in Washington where they heard strategies from other states that have recently embarked on reform initiatives.
Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia whose practices focuses on representation of plaintiffs in high end personal injury and wrongful death cases. He is listed among the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale). A Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is President-elect of the 42,200 member State Bar of Georgia.