I can’t get excited about this race.

Four years ago, an open seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals generated eye-popping amounts of campaign cash and one of the strangest elections in state history.

This year, there is another opening on the 12-member court. With seven candidates, the nonpartisan race probably will end with a runoff.

The vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge John H. Ruffin Jr., who served 14 years on the court, which handles both criminal and civil appeals.

The attorneys seeking to succeed him are: Lawrenceville lawyers Tamela Adkins and Mike Sheffield; Atlanta lawyers Sara Doyle and Bruce Edenfield; Douglasville lawyer Perry McGuire; Decatur lawyer Christopher McFadden; and state Sen. Michael Meyer von Bremen, an Albany lawyer.

Too many lawyers.


  1. My kin folks call me Nick says:

    Well, while we are on the subject:

    John Marshall Law School, Atlanta is hosting a debate for these candidates on 10-22-08. If you are interested in hearing the opinions then this is a great place to do it.

    The questions posed come from other members of the legal community and should require them to get away from their talking points!

  2. Rick Day says:

    Agreed, too many damn lawyers indeed. I’ve read all too much about the ‘go along to get promoted’ attitude within the judicial. Only insiders (from the un-Holy attorney guild) are allowed to climb this Golden Ladder.

    Back during the War of Southern Greed ™ the ‘rich’ land and mercantile owners routinely got themselves elected to political offices and judgeship so they would be exempt from conscription. Thus, the ‘elite judicial’ was solidified.

    The one judge I knew of quit in disgust over the ‘good old boy’ system in Clayton County, et. al. a few years back.

    Wonder how many of those ‘non partisan’ candidates make it clear which side of the D/R equation they fall. Donkeys or Elephants on yard signs, anyone?

  3. Tea Party says:

    Since ya ought to vote anyway:

    I have known Chris McFadden for over thirty years. He wrote one of the Appeals Court books and is often used by attorneys as an expert on the Appeals process.

    Chris has focus, knowledge, and integrity and IS NOT a good ol’ boy by any stretch. The Appeals Court is an important a part of our legal process.

    Maybe a sleeper, but important.

    Max Lehmann

  4. OleDirtyBarrister says:

    yeah, who would think of attorneys running for an office for which only attorneys can qualify. And just who in hades would want non-attorneys sitting on a court that is designed to address questions of law (not constitutional or public policy issues)? Putting laymen on that court would like promoting a landscaper to chief surgeon at Emory.

    The Georgia Court of Appeals is very important because it is the court of last resort on many questions of law. Most ordinary legal disputes end there, and more Georgians are affected by that court’s decision in a direct way than the Supreme Court of GA.

    Ironically, Debra Bernes is very ill and has been unable to appear in court. They have videotaped arguments to her panel and she has bravely tried to work through it. Only time will tell if she can stick it out, but her problems may force her to focus exclusively on fighting and recovering.

    As far as qualifications go, this is how I would rank them based on my knowledge of the candidates:

    1. McFadden. Smart, likeable, experienced enough, seasoned in appellate proceedings, knows the role of an appellate court in the judicial system and society.

    After McFadden, it is a little tighter between Edenfield, Sheffield, and Meyer Von Bremen.

    2. Edenfield. History of judges in the family, practiced a long time. His time as a govt attorney may give him a little too much of a govt bent for my comfort.

    3. Sheffield (no real discernable difference between 2 and 3). The down side with Sheffield (in my eyes) is that he has done exclusively criminal law experience. Maybe that is not so bad, I don’t have a good tally on how much criminal experience there is on that court right now. The crim defense and prosecution attorneys might believe the court would benefit from more crim law experience, I’d be interested to hear something on that point.

    4. Meyer von Bremen. Nice guy, reasonably intelligent. Not sure he has done the appellate work to know that function; too much time in politics, too much of a bent toward the government payroll.

    5. Doyle. Intelligent, a future prospect for the bench. Too young and inexperienced at this point, only 40 and only 14 years out. She is a litigator, but I don’t have a good feel for the extent of her appellate experience. She also attended the wrong undergrad institution, U of Florida, and I would never vote for her. (LOL).

    6. McGuire. A reasonably intelligent guy that could do a good job advising a business on corporate matters. But he is not a litigator and has never handled an appeal. He really cannot have a grasp on the institutional role of an appellate court. I don’t want anyone on that bench before me that has not been to the podium as I have. I’m a little bit concerned about anyone that has spent as much money as he has to get on the govt payroll.

    7. Adkins. Graduate of schools of which no one has heard, leads me to believe she could not get into a real law school. Not a Georgian, but a transplant. A domestic lawyer, which practice does not make one a very good lawyer. She went to the divorce mill system of $499 uncontested divorces on billboards. Please, lady, you’ll never get the votes of real lawyers. Go feed at the government trough and work toward a govt pension in some position where you can do much less damage and one in which you and I will not cross paths.

  5. Dave Bearse says:

    Some complain about a closed system wherein the timing of the resignation results in an appointment that effectively establishes incumbency prior to the election to fill the vacancy. The complaint lacks credence, given the public interest in this race.

  6. Bill Simon says:

    Quite honestly, Harry, I believe he simply zealoulsy represents his clients in front of the appelate court.

    I don’t know how you judge someone who does their job as being “liberal” or “conservative.”

    AND…by the way, what do those labels even mean any more? Thanks to Bush, Cheney, the ex-Republican Congress and Saxby Chambliss, those terms have no real meaning.

  7. The Comma Guy says:

    Has anyone seen the Daily Report’s survey of the responses from the Bar about the qualification of the candidates yet? I’m trying to find out who has the office’s copy.

  8. Harry says:


    I have to get some feel for the guy’s political ideology. I can’t buy this notion that judges are above all that. There’s at least one other in this race who may not be as qualified as McFadden, but who represents that he’s conservative.

  9. OleDirtyBarrister says:

    Comma Guy:

    I have the FCDR story on the Bar survey of qualifications. I am surprised on the light response considering the number of attorneys in this state.

    Edenfield got the most, but only a little over a 1,000. McFadden was second with about 830.

    I guess the name recognition for Edenfield is good due to other Edenfields on the bench in GA.


    Ideology will not matter nearly as much on the Ct of Appeals. As I stated above, due to jurisdictional structure of the courts in GA, it is a court that reviews questions of law. It does not decide novel constitutional issues or issues of “public policy.”

    Your time would be better spend wondering how to get rid of Benham and Leah Sears Jones Smith Ward Collins, or whatever she calls herself these days.

Comments are closed.