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Tilman E. "Tripp" Self

Tilman E. "Tripp" Self, 2017-2018

On November 9, 2016, Governor Nathan Deal appointed Macon native, Chief Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self, III, to serve as the 83rd Judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals.  Judge Self began his term on January 1, 2017.  In March 2018, Judge Self left the court to sit as a federal trial judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in Macon.

Judge Self attended The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, on Army ROTC and Citadel Scholar scholarships. In 1990, he received his B.S. in Business Administration, graduating summa cum laude as The Citadel’s top business graduate and 9th overall from a class of 516.

Upon his graduation from The Citadel, he received his commission as a Field Artillery Officer in the United States Army. After graduating on the Commandant’s List from the Field Artillery Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Sill, OK, he served in the Republic of Korea, including a rotation on the DeMilitarized Zone while assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division. After returning to the continental United States, Judge Self was stationed at Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia, and participated in a joint drug reconnaissance operation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, earning his spurs with the 2nd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment. He was also nominated for the Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, recognizing the outstanding company grade officer in the United States Army while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.

In 1994, Judge Self left the Army and began his legal studies at the University of Georgia School of Law.  In 1997, he received his J.D. from UGA, graduating cum laude. While at UGA, his classmates elected him as Vice President of the Student Bar Association and he participated as a member of the Mock Trial Team. He also had an article published in the University of Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal.  After graduation, he returned to Macon and began work at Sell & Melton, LLP. Judge Self primarily worked as a litigator in the firm’s general civil practice, handling a wide variety of matters such as condemnation, federal civil rights, probate, real estate and all manners of civil suits.

In 2006, Judge Self ran for an open seat on the Superior Court for the Macon Judicial Circuit, which covers Bibb, Crawford and Peach counties.  After winning a contested election, Judge Self began his first term on the Superior Court bench on January 1, 2007, making him the third successive generation of his family elected to serve as a judge in Bibb County.  In 2010 and 2014, the voters of the Macon Judicial Circuit returned him to office without opposition.   In 2014, Judge Self became the Chief Judge of the circuit, assuming responsibility for the Circuit’s administrative functions in addition to his normal caseload.

In 2014, with the help of the Circuit Public Defender and District Attorney, Judge Self began the Macon Judicial Circuit Veteran’s Treatment Court.  This special court was created to serve the unique needs of veterans who battle substance abuse and mental health issues who find themselves in the criminal justice system.

During his tenure on the Superior Court, Judge Self presided over 101 jury trials and literally hundreds of bench trials and hearings.

Judge Self is married to his wife, Amy, and together they have four children. They are members of Piedmont Church and are very active in the Macon community.  Judge Self is a longtime member of the Downtown Macon Rotary Club, serves on the Executive Committee of the Central Georgia Boy Scouts Council and on the Board of Directors of the Museum of Aviation Foundation.  He is a 1998 graduate of Leadership Macon and was in the 2006 class of Leadership Georgia.  He has served as President of the Macon Bar Association, the Executive Committee of the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia and the Co-Vice Chair of the Bench and Bar Committee of the State Bar. Judge Self was also elected to serve as Secretary/Treasurer and President-Elect of the Council of Superior Court Judges during his tenure on the Superior Court bench.  He currently serves as a member of the Domestic Violence Committee of the Judicial Council, a member of the Bootle Inn of Court and has previously served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Georgia Family Violence Commission.

In 2005, Judge Self was named as one of Macon Magazine’s Outstanding Young Leaders and in 2007, The Fulton Daily Report named him as one of its “40 under 40” Young Lawyers On the Rise.  In 2008, the American Council on Germany named him one of 25 Young Leaders selected to represent the USA at a transatlantic conference in Munich and Berlin.  The Georgia Supreme Court designated Judge Self to serve on that court by designation in 2011. In September 2016, the Georgia Supreme Court named him as one of its two appointees to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the state agency that regulates and disciplines Georgia’s 1800+ judges from all classes of court.

Off the bench, Judge Self officiates NCAA football in the Southern Conference and has for the last 19 years.  He officiated the 2017 NCAA FCS National Championship game between James Madison University and Youngstown State University.  He also umpired the Championship game of the 2003 Junior League World Series.

He enjoys hunting and fishing with his wife and kids. An avid turkey hunter, he holds two Grand, Royal, Mexican and World Slams as recognized by the National Wild Turkey Federation.