Georgia’s Chief Justice to Retire
The Associated Press,
February 9, 2005
ATLANTA—The chief justice of
Georgia’s Supreme Court, Norman Fletcher, will retire this summer after 15
years on the court.
Fletcher, 70, announced his retirement Wednesday in his
annual State of the Judiciary address to the Legislature. Fletcher has been
chief justice for four years.
Gov. Sonny Perdue will appoint Fletcher’s successor.
The chief justice job regularly rotates, and Justice Leah Ward Sears was
already scheduled to take a four-year turn at chief justice starting June 30.
In Fletcher’s time on the court, decisions included
striking down Georgia’s sodomy and fornication laws and outlawing the
electric chair in state executions.
Fletcher told lawmakers that he considered his main
accomplishment to be directing an overhaul of Georgia’s indigent defense
system, or the method of providing lawyers for poor defendants. Fletcher
pushed for and oversaw a new, statewide network of public defender offices to
replace a patchwork system that Fletcher and other lawyers said led to uneven
“The creation of the public defender system was a good,
right and just thing,” he said. “Because the system is alive and well, I
am filled with joy, a joy that will be with me the remainder of my life.”
Lawmakers gave Fletcher a standing ovation.
“We thank you sincerely for your long public
service,” said Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, who presided over the joint session.
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