M. Yvette Miller, 1999- Date
Chief Judge: 2009-2010
Judge M. Yvette Miller was originally appointed to the Court of Appeals of Georgia by Governor Roy Barnes on July 12, 1999, when she became the first African-American woman and 65th Judge on the Court. She has been re-elected statewide without opposition by the citizens of Georgia for three six-year terms, most recently in July, 2012. Judge Miller was unanimously selected by her fellow judges to serve as Chief Judge for a two-year term, which began on January 1, 2009, and ended on January 1, 2011. Judge Miller is the first African-American woman to serve as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia. During her tenure as Chief Judge, the Court implemented the e-filing initiative, which has improved access to the appellate court for attorneys and parties throughout the state of Georgia. After serving as the Court's Chief Judge, Judge Miller became a Presiding Judge on the Court.
Judge Miller received her B.A., cum laude, from Mercer University in 1977 and her J.D. from Mercer's Walter F. George School of Law in 1980. Judge Miller also earned an LL.M. in litigation from Emory University School of Law in 1988 and an LL.M. in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2004.
Judge Miller has achieved many "firsts" in the course of her distinguished legal career. While attending law school, she was selected as the first African-American woman to hold the title of "Miss Macon." Judge Miller was one of the first female prosecutors in the Fulton County District Attorney's Office, and handled primarily serious felony rape and murder cases. She went on to represent the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) as senior in-house litigation counsel. Judge Miller also developed a private legal practice and became the first African-American female attorney to practice law in Jesup, Georgia, and throughout the Brunswick Judicial Circuit. Moreover, while living in South Georgia, Judge Miller owned and operated a new car dealership franchise.
In 1989, Judge Miller became an Administrative Law Judge with the State Board of Worker's Compensation. In 1992, when Governor Zell Miller appointed her to serve as Director and Judge of the Appellate Division of the State Board of Worker's Compensation, Judge Miller became the first woman, first African-American, and youngest person ever to hold that position. Four years later, Governor Miller appointed her to the State Court of Fulton County, and she was re-elected as a State Court Judge without opposition.
Judge Miller is a member of numerous professional and civic organizations, including the Atlanta Bar Association, Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, Gate City Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Women Judges, Board of Trustees of Mercer University, Lawyers Foundation of Georgia, the Commerce Club of Atlanta, Lamar Inn of Court, the Lawyers Club of Atlanta, the Azalea City Chapter of The Links, Inc., and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Judge Miller has been recognized for her service and contributions to the community. She has recently received the following prestigious awards and honors:
- Founders' Award for Distinction in the Profession presented by Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (2013);
- Women of Excellence Award presented by the Atlanta Daily World (2013);
- Award Honoring Service in the Judiciary presented by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (2012);
- The Tradition of Excellence Award presented by the Georgia Bar Practice and Trial Section (2011);
- Who's Who in Atlanta (2001-2009 and 2012-2013);
- Inductee into the "Academy of Women Achievers" by the YWCA (2011);
- "Guardian of Justice Award" for Outstanding Service to the Bar presented by The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (2010);
- Who's Who in Law presented by the Atlanta Business Chronicle (2010);
- Distinguished Alumnus Award presented by Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law (2010);
- "Investing in Dreams" Award presented by the Atlanta Chapter/Youth United for Prosperity NFL Alumni and DeKalb Technical College Foundation (2010);
- The Pinnacle Leadership Award from Delta Sigma Theta, East Point/College Park Alumnae Chapters Foundation (2009);
- Inductee into the "Hall of Fame" of the Gate City Bar Association (2008);
- Designation as one of "Georgia's Top 50 Influential Women" by the Georgia Informer (1991 to 2008);
- Selected as one of 20 American judges to attend the Sir Richard May Seminar on International Law and International Courts in the Hague Netherlands (2006).
Judge Miller is a native of Georgia. She is the daughter of Conrad and Patricia J. Miller of Macon, Georgia. She has one sibling, Conrad N. Miller, Jr., M.D., who also resides in Macon with his family. Judge Miller resides in Vinings, Cobb County, and is a member of Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta. She is also a life-long member of Steward Chapel AME Church in Macon, Georgia.