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George H. Carley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George H. Carley
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia
In office
May 29, 2012 – July 17, 2012
Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia
In office
March 16, 1993 – July 17, 2012
Appointed byZell Miller
Chief Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals
In office
Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals
In office
April 5, 1979 – March 16, 1993
Appointed byGeorge D. Busbee
Personal details
George Holmes Carley[1]

(1938-09-24) September 24, 1938 (age 81)
Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
Spouse(s)Sandra M. Lineberger
EducationUniversity of Georgia (AB, LLB)
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
United States Army Reserve
Years of service1956-1960

George Holmes Carley (born September 24, 1938) is an American lawyer and judge. He is a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. From Decatur, Georgia, Carley served on the Court from 1993 until July 2012.

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Early life and career

Carley was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1938, the only child of George L. Carley, Jr. and Dorothy Holmes Carley.[2][3]

His family moved to Decatur, Georgia, in 1948. Carley's father was a member of the United States Public Health Service and while posted in Burma, Carley attended the eighth and ninth grades at the Woodstock School in Mussoorie, India, from 1951 to 1953.[2][3] Returning to the United States, Carley graduated from Decatur High School in 1956.[2] Carley served in the United States Army Reserve from 1956 to 1960, and was on active duty in 1956.[2]

Carley received his A.B. from the University of Georgia in 1960 and his LL.B. from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1962. Carley was a member of Alpha Tau Omega.[2] Carley has stated that his favorite professor in law school was the property law expert Verner F. Chaffin.[4]

Carley was admitted to the bar in 1961 and for three months served in the title department at the Atlanta law firm of Hansell Post Brandon & Dorse before quitting and returning to Decatur, where he practiced from 1963 until becoming a judge in 1979.[2][3] Carley briefly was an attorney for the U.S. Public Housing Administration before leaving to start a solo practice that grew into a larger law firm.[3] Carley served as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1966 and in 1971 became a partner with the Decatur firm of McCurdy & Candler.[2] Carley represented the Housing Authority of the City of Decatur and also served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for Georgia Department of Transportation eminent domain cases.[2]

Judicial career

Governor George D. Busbee appointed Carley to the Georgia Court of Appeals on April 5, 1979. Carley was subsequently elected to a full six-year term in 1980 and reelected in 1986 and 1992. He was chief judge from 1989 to 1990 and presiding judge from 1991 to 1991.[2]

On March 16, 1993, Governor Zell Miller elevated Carley to the Supreme Court of Georgia. He was elected to a full six-year term in 1994 and reelected in 2000 and 2006.[2] In 2009, Carley was elected as presiding judge.[5]

In his retention elections, Carley has never faced opposition.[3]

In October 2011, Carley announced plans to retire from the Supreme Court in July 2012, which would allow Governor Nathan Deal to appoint his successor, who would have to run for reelection in 2014.[6] On February 3, 2012, Carley officially delivered his resignation to the governor, announcing his retirement effective July 17.[7]

At the end of 2011 at the insistence of then and now again Chief Justice of the GA Supreme Court, Carol Huntstein made the request to the Associate Judges to allow her to step down and allow then Presiding Judge Carley to Serve out the rest of his term as Chief Justice. After his retirement Justice Huntstein would and did assume the Chief Justice role. All of the Associate Justices voted unanimously in favor of Huntstein's gesture.

On May 29, 2012 Presiding Judge George Carley was sworn in as the 29th Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. At Carley's investiture, all six living former chief justices were in attendance: Hunstein, Robert Benham, Harold Clarke, Norman Fletcher, Willis Hunt and Leah Ward Sears. By letting Carley serve as chief justice, his fellow justices allowed him to become the first in Georgia history to serve as chief justice and presiding justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, as well as chief judge and presiding judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals.[8] Following his retirement from the Court, Carley has stated that he hopes to become a private mediator or arbitrator and possibility act as a senior trial judge.[3]


Carley often is the lone justice on the Supreme Court to dissent from a decision. His jurisprudence emphasizes judicial deference to the legislature; for example, in 1998 he was the lone dissenter in a 6-1 decision striking down the state sodomy law.[3]

In criminal cases, Carley often sides with the state over the defendant. But Carley also emphasizes legal procedure, and dissented in a decision in which the court allowed evidence from a warrantless search to be used against a woman charged in a child abuse death, writing that the Fourth Amendment "has no exception for troubling cases and we should not let hard cases make bad law."[3]

In civil cases, Carley often sides with plaintiffs. He is known for an important pro-plaintiff decision in a no-fault insurance case from early in his judicial career.[3]

Personal life

Carley married Sandra M. (Sandy) Lineberger[4] of Macon in 1960. The couple has been married for more than 50 years. They have one son and two grandsons.[2]

Carley suffered a heart attack and later quit smoking.[3] Carley is a longtime Georgia Bulldogs football fan.[3] Carley has been described as "quintessentially old school" and almost never appears in public without his "signature attire" of a coat and tie, which he wore even while riding a mule in the Grand Canyon.[3] He suffers from retinal detachment that makes him blind in his right eye and has diminished vision in the left.[3]


  1. ^ Report of Proceedings (1964)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Biography: Presiding Justice George H. Carley. Supreme Court of Georgia (last accessed January 18, 2012).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Bill Rankin, Justice a unique voice on high court (November 24, 2009). Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  4. ^ a b Alumni Spotlight: George Carley (LL.B.'62) (February 2011). University of Georgia Law School.
  5. ^ Two new justices elected to GA Supreme Court (June 15, 2009). WTOC.
  6. ^ Bill Rankin, Timing of Justice Carley's retirement will let Deal pick successor (October 4, 2011). Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  7. ^ Alyson M. Palmer, Carley makes retirement plans official; JNC process to begin in April Archived 2012-07-19 at (February 3, 2012). Daily Report.
  8. ^ Rankin

External links

This page was last edited on 11 January 2020, at 05:13
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