Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit Superior Courts

About Cherokee Superior Court

Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit
Cherokee County Superior Court

Superior Court operations reside in the county judicial facility, but it is not a county court. The Superior Court is the general jurisdiction court in Georgia. Superior Courts are, in effect, circuit courts. The Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit is a single county circuit comprised entirely of only Cherokee County. Court in Cherokee County is held in the Frank C. Mills, III Justice Center* pictured to the right. Read on for a brief history and overview of the circuit.

We hope that you will return to the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit website often and that you will find the forms and information available here useful.
The Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit is a single county circuit comprised of Cherokee County. This is a relatively new circumstance. Cherokee County justice began its existence the day after Christmas of 1831 in the Western Judicial Circuit1. An itinerate court was established and the place was called Cherokee Court House (now known as Canton). 
Just short of a year later, the Cherokee Judicial Circuit was formed and Cherokee County was included. The County had been divided into ten counties (which later more than doubled again) and all were a part of the Cherokee Circuit.
The Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit was created by legislative act in 1851. Over the years, other circuits were created from many of the counties in the Blue Ridge Circuit2.
The first judge of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit is shown alternatively in the Supreme Court Reports as E. Irwin, A. Erwin, and David Irwin3. In the almost 170 year history of the circuit, there have been a total of twenty-six individuals who served as Judge of the Superior Court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit.
There are three active judges and three living retired judges.
Retired Court of Appeals Judge Marion T. Pope, Jr. (1967-1981) was the 18th judge. Retired Judge Frank C. Mills, III (1981-2012) was the 20th. Retired Judge Jackson Harris (2001-2018) was the 23rd.
Active judges are Chief Judge Ellen McElyea, the 24th,Judge David Cannon, the 25th, and Judge Tony Baker, the 26th.


Original Cherokee County 1831

*Opened in 1994 as the Cherokee County Justice Center, renamed the Frank C. Mills, III Justice Center in 2012.
1.At the time of its creation, Cherokee comprised all of Georgia “lying west of the Chattahoochee River and north of CarrollCounty” (Acts, Georgia 1831). Today, the Western Circuit is comprised of Clarke and Oconee Counties. These are, interestinglyenough, far to the east of Cherokee.
2. Counties split off from Blue Ridge Circuit: Campbell 1856;Carroll 1854; Cobb 1951; Forsyth 1998; Gilmer 1983; Lumpkin1881;Paulding 1859; Union 1856; Polk 1856; Pickens 1983; Fannin 1983; Haralson 1856; Towns 1881; Dawson 1894; Milton 1932.Milton and Campbell counties are now a part of Fulton County.
3. For a list of Judges of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit, see the figure below.
4. Martha Ellen McElyea is the first woman to serve as Judge of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit Superior Court. 

The justice system of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit is, in many ways, a reflection of Cherokee County. With increasing population is an increasing caseload. The Circuit has responded to the growing responsibility by continuous evaluation of service delivery and the development of case management techniques. The Blue Ridge Circuit is utilizing various programs such as mediation for civil cases and innovative judicial caseload assignments for civil and criminal domestic violence cases in order to efficiently and fairly process these cases.
The Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit is comprised of a single county and court business is conducted in the Cherokee County Justice Center located at 90 North Street in the county seat of Canton, Georgia. 

1851-1855 David Irwin resigned Oct. 8, 1855
1855-1857 Joseph Emerson Brown resigned Aug. 1, 1857
1857-1866 George D. Rice  
1866-1868 David Irwin  
1868-1868 William T. Crane appointment withdrawn
1868-1870 Noel B. Knight resigned
1870-1877 Noel B. Knight reappointed Oct. 25, 1870
1877-1881 George N. Lester  
1881-1889 James Rice Brown  
1889-1889 Will J. Winn died Oct. 21, 1889
1889-1909 George F. Gober  
1910-1913 Newton A. Morris  
1913-1917 Henry L. Patterson  
1917-1919 Newton A. Morris resigned Dec. 12, 1919
1920-1926 Daniel Webster Blair  
1926-1931 John Stephens Wood resigned 1931
1931-1948 John Harold Hawkins resigned Nov 30, 1948
1948-1960 Howell Brooke died Aug. 1, 1960
1960-1977 Samuel P. Burtz resigned Apr. 1, 1977 (Sr. Judge)
1965-1969 Henry Grady Vandiviere Emeritus Jan 1, 1969
1967-1981 Marion T. Pope, Jr. appointed Judge Ct App 1981
1977-1984 Richard B. Neville died April 1984
1981-2012 Frank C. Mills, III*   Senior status Jan. 1, 2013
1984-1998 Richard (Stan) Gault Bell-Forsyth Cir. Created 1998
1991-2000 C. Michael Roach died Dec. 2000
2001-2018  Jackson Harris   Senior status Jan. 1, 2019
2007- Martha Ellen McElyea  
2013- David Cannon, Jr.
2019- M. Anthony (Tony) Baker

 Also, See Georgia Official & Statistical Register for more detail.  GOSR 1977 pgs 827-828

To learn more about Cherokee County's history, visit the website of the county's historical society.
Cherokee County Historical Society 
*2012-Mills is the longest serving judge at 31 years and rounding out the 5 longest serving judges in the almost 170 year history of the Blue Ridge Circuit - 1909-Gober at 20 yrs, 1948-Hawkins at 17yrs+, 2018-Harris at 17yrs+, and Samuel P Burtz at 16yrs+.
This website appears on the Georgia Council of Superior Court Judges web portal.
rev. 2018_12_28

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