John H. Ruffin, Jr., 1994-2008
Chief Judge: 2005-2006
Presiding Judge John H. Ruffin, Jr. became the 62nd Judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia when he was administered the oath of office by Governor Zell Miller on August 24, 1994, after 33 years of practicing law and serving on the superior court bench. Judge Ruffin was appointed a Superior Court Judge of the Augusta Judicial Circuit in 1986 by Governor Joe Frank Harris. He was elected without opposition in 1988 and continued to serve as Superior Court Judge until his appointment to the Court of Appeals.
In addition to being the first African-American Superior Court Judge for the Augusta Judicial Circuit, Judge Ruffin was also the first African-American member of the Augusta Bar Association, and the third African-American and first African-American Chief Judge to serve on the Court of Appeals of Georgia. Judge Ruffin was born and reared in Waynesboro, Burke County, Georgia, the son of John H. Ruffin, Sr. and Anna Davis Ruffin. Judge Ruffin is a graduate of Waynesboro High and Industrial School. He attended and graduated from Morehouse College and Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. Judge Ruffin was admitted to the Georgia Bar on July 5, 1961.
In addition to his membership in the State Bar of Georgia, Judge Ruffin is a member of the bars of the Supreme Court of Georgia, United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Georgia.
Judge Ruffin has many professional, civic and religious affiliations. Some of his current and former memberships include: Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia; Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia; Tenth Judicial Administrative District; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Institute of Continuing Judicial Education; Georgia Commission on Gender Bias; Court Reform Committee, Governor's Conference on Justice in Georgia; Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Georgia Advisory Council to the Legal Services Program; Judicial Nominating Commission; Georgia Conference of Black Lawyers, Inc.; State Bar Judicial Compensation Committee; American Judicature Society; National Bar Association; American Bar Association, Augusta Bar Association and the Atlanta Bar Association. He has lectured extensively at professional seminars and at the National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada.
Shortly before being appointed to the Court of Appeals, Judge Ruffin was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Council of Superior Court Judges. In addition to being the first African-American officer of the Council of Superior Court Judges, Judge Ruffin was on track to become the first African-American to serve as President of the Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia.
Judge Ruffin has one son, Brinkley Ruffin, who is currently employed by the Georgia Department of Labor.
Judge Ruffin and his family are members of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta.