J.D. Smith, 1993-2011
Chief Judge: 2003-2004
Presiding Judge J.D. Smith was appointed by Governor Zell Miller to the Georgia Court of Appeals, effective May 10, 1993. He is a past Chief Judge of the Court, having served in that capacity from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2004.
He formerly was Chief Judge of the Superior Courts of the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, which includes Dawson and Hall counties. He won election to the superior court bench in 1984 and took office on January 1, 1985.
He is a native of Hall County, born on July 16, 1946. He is the son of the late Jessie D. Smith, who was also a native of Hall County, and the late Louise Elliott Smith, a native of Dawson County. He was educated in the Hall County school system.
Presiding Judge Smith practiced law in Gainesville for over twelve years before becoming a judge. He is a member and past President of the Gainesville-Northeastern Circuit Bar Association. He is also a member of the Atlanta Bar Association, the State Bar of Georgia and the American Bar Association. He is a Master in the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court and served as its President from 2001 to 2006. He is also a Master in the Chattahoochee American Inn of Court.
Before entering private practice, he served as law assistant to Justice William B. Gunter of the Supreme Court of Georgia.
He obtained his legal education at the University of Georgia School of Law, where he received a Juris Doctor degree in 1972. He was on the Dean's List and served as Associate Editor of The Georgia Law Review. He has served as Chair of the law school's Board of Visitors and is a recipient of the law school's Distinguished Service Scroll. He is also a graduate of the University of Florida, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in economics in 1968, and where he was on the Dean's List and a member of the President's Honor Roll. In 1977, he was awarded a Master of Laws in Taxation degree from the Emory University School of Law. He earned that degree while maintaining a full-time law practice in Gainesville. He earned an LL.M. degree in Judicial Process from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1998. Presiding Judge Smith is also a graduate of the New York University School of Law Appellate Judges Seminar. He has been an instructor at the National Judicial College and numerous legal education seminars. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Institute of Continuing Judicial Education.
He is a former Chair of the Chestatee Regional Library Board. He is a former director of the Gainesville Kiwanis Club, which bestowed upon him its "Workhorse Award" in 1978. He is a former Chair of the Troop Committee of Boy Scout Troop 16 in Gainesville.
He and his wife, Flo, are members of the First United Methodist Church of Gainesville. They have two adult children, Brian R. Smith and Joanna Smith Nijem, both of whom are graduates of the University of Georgia School of Law and practicing lawyers.