Local District Attorney Appointed to State Court of Appeals

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday filled three new openings on the state Court of Appeals with a district attorney who has prosecuted judges, a lawyer who served as the state’s top litigator and a judge who was once a law partner with the speaker of the state House of Representatives.

The appointments are: Nels Peterson, vice chancellor for legal affairs and secretary to the Board of Regents; Superior Court Judge Amanda Mercier of the three-county Appalachian Judicial Circuit, Brian Rickman, district attorney of the three-county Mountain Judicial Circuit.

Rickman, who represents Rabun, Stephens, and Habersham Counties with the Mountain Judicial Court, has served that role since 2008. In that time, has assisted the state Judicial Qualifications Commission and prosecuted two judges – Grady County State Court Judge William Bass, who was suspended from office, and Camden County Probate Judge Shirley Wise, who resigned and pleaded guilty to theft.

Deal has already appointed four judges to the state Court of Appeals and with the court’s upcoming expansion he will have appointed seven of the court’s 15 judges. The governor has appointed one justice on the Georgia Supreme Court but will soon be able to replace two of that’s court’s justices, who are expected to retire before the end of Deal’s term as governor.