The Russell Report

Posted by

The district court bench of the Northern District of Georgia is thinning out.  The court has only nine full-time members, plus five senior judges.  And while we once had two judges each in the Rome and Gainesville divisions, those courts are down to one.  Rome’s sole occupant is a senior judge at that.  We have not seen a new face on the bench in more than three years.

More subtraction is on the horizon.  On Thursday, Judge William S. Duffey, Jr., announced his retirement from the federal bench.  The court web site posted a press release with a detailed biography of the judge and his post-bench plans.  (Hint: “He is currently working on a book for young lawyers on the practical aspects of litigation.”)  Judge Duffey will leave the bench entirely on July 1, 2018.  He will not take senior status.

And then there were eight full-time judges.


Well, nine again.  On January 12, the United States Senate confirmed Michael L. Brown (pictured above) as a district judge on the Northern District of Georgia bench.  Brown has been until now a partner at Alston & Bird, but spent many years as an AUSA in our local United States Attorney’s Office.  You can read more of Brown’s biography here.  Brown will fill the seat vacated long ago by Judge Julie Carnes.

The nomination of Judge William “Billy” Ray is still pending.  The Senate has not yet confirmed Judge Ray, who has served on the Georgia Court of Appeals since his appointment five years ago by Gov. Nathan Deal.  Judge Ray spent ten years as a state court judge in Gwinnett County.  You may follow the progress of the nomination on Judge Ray’s Ballotpedia page.  If confirmed, Ray will fill the seat once occupied by Judge Harold L. Murphy, who is now a senior judge.

And the latest news of our fresh United States Attorney: BJay Pak.  Pak has named some of his cabinet.  We believe the following AUSA’s have been promoted:  Yonette Buchanan will be Criminal Chief.  Jill Steinberg and Glenn Baker will be Deputy Criminal Chiefs.  Kim Dammers will head up the Gang Cases section. And Richard Moultrie will lead the Major Crimes section.

A parlor game:  Which of the six names in the last paragraph once worked (very hard, I might add) as a trial attorney at the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office? A door prize to the first person who emails me the correct answer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s