Dorothy Toth Beasley, 1984-1999
Chief Judge: 1995-1996
Judge Dorothy Toth Beasley is the daughter of Judge Stephen Toth, retired, Bergen County Court, New Jersey, and Beatrice Elizabeth Dodd Toth. Sister Stephanie Wells and family reside in Gainesville, Ga., and sister Virginia Palmer and family in Woodstock, Vt. She graduated from Eastern Academy, St. Lawrence University, and American University Washington College of Law (LL.B.). Judicial education has continued at the National Judicial College and the University of Virginia (LL.M. in the Judicial Process), as well as at ABA Appellate Judges Seminars and others. Judge Beasley studied the English legal system at Oxford University and has also participated in the Program of Instruction for Lawyers at Harvard, the Appellate Judges Seminar at NYU, and the "Justice and Society" Seminar at the Aspen Institute.
After working for the U.S. Department of State, she attended law school and worked part-time for a congressman, a law firm, and the Urban Land Institute. Her first job as a lawyer was as law clerk to the three circuit judges in Arlington County, Virginia, where she then practiced with Shadyac, Berg & Nolan. Upon being brought to Georgia by William H. Beasley, Jr., she worked first for the law firm of Fisher & Phillips in Atlanta, then as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Georgia, representing the State in a number of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and thereafter an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Criminal Division. In 1977 she was appointed by Governor George D. Busbee as Judge, State Court of Fulton County. She was elected in 1978 and, while running unopposed for re-election in 1984, was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Joe Frank Harris. Full terms, following election, began January 1987 and January 1993.
Judge Beasley is an associate member and has served on the board of directors of the National Center for State Courts and the American Judicature Society. She is a member of the American Law Institute, the Georgia Bar Foundation, of which she is a Charter Member of the Fellows, and the Georgia Legal History Foundation, of which she is a Trustee. She was on the Judicial Article Subcommittee for the 1983 Constitution of Georgia. State Bar committee work has included Reducing Court Costs and Delay, Correctional Facilities and Services, Judicial Procedure and Administration, and Court Futures. She was appointed to the Georgia Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, the Georgia Commission on Children and Youth, and the Georgia Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System. She belongs to the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, where she is a member of the Church Council. Judge Beasley has participated in both Leadership Atlanta and Leadership Georgia. She is on the board of directors of the Fanning Leadership Center, Univ. of Ga. Her memberships include the ABA, the State Bar of Georgia, and the Lawyers Club of Atlanta. She is a past president of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers and has traveled to Albania for the ABA's Central and East European Law Initiative. She chaired the Georgia Law-Related Education Consortium and the Steering Committee for the Court Futures project.