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Stephen S. Goss

Stephen S. Goss, 2018-2019

Judge Stephen S. Goss (Steve) was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to serve as a judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia effective August 1, 2018. Prior to this appointment, Judge Goss had served as a Superior Court judge in Albany since 1999.

A native southwest Georgian, Steve grew up on the family farm in Sale City, Mitchell County, Georgia. He graduated in 1983 from the University of Georgia with a B.A., cum laude, majoring in Political Science. He was elected as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law with a J.D., cum laude, in 1986.

Steve was a partner in the Albany law firms of Watson, Spence, Lowe and Chambless, LLP and Cannon, Meyer von Bremen and Goss, LLP. He was engaged in a general civil trial practice trying tort, business, land use and zoning cases. In addition to his private practice, Steve tried indigent felony criminal cases and served as the solicitor for the Dougherty Circuit Juvenile Court. He was a president of the Dougherty Circuit Bar Association and a life fellow of the Lawyers Foundation of Georgia.

Judge Goss was appointed as judge of the Dougherty Circuit Juvenile Court and served from 1995-1999. He served as chairman of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges’s Permanency Planning committee dealing with issues involving children suffering deprivation and neglect. He was a member of the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Child Placement Project committee.

Judge Goss was appointed by Governor Barnes to fill a vacancy on the Superior Court of the Dougherty Judicial Circuit in 1999. He served as a Superior Court judge for nineteen years, having been elected five times. He was the administrative judge for the Second Judicial Administrative District, comprised of the twenty-seven counties of southwest Georgia. He was president of the Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia in 2008-2009. Judge Goss chaired the Council of Superior Court Judges’s budget, nominations and retirement committees. He served on the State of Georgia Judicial Council for two different terms and was on its budget committee. He was the 2018 recipient of the Emory Findley award for career service to the Superior Courts of Georgia. Judge Goss was a fellow of the national Henry Toll leadership program of the Council of State Governments.

In 2002, Judge Goss founded the Dougherty Superior Court Mental Health/Substance Abuse treatment program. It was the first felony mental health court in Georgia and one of the early felony programs in the United States. He participated in a small work group that helped to develop the national essential elements guide for mental health court programs. Since 2006, the Dougherty Superior Court program has served as one of four national Learning Sites for mental health courts as designated by the United States Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Council of State Governments. Judge Goss served as the chairman of the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia in 2017-2018. He was the founding vice-chairman of its executive committee and the chairman of its education and training committee. Judge Goss served on multiple national committees regarding persons in the criminal justice system with mental health issues. He served on state committees on mental health by appointment of Governor Perdue and Governor Deal.

Judge Goss was very involved in continuing education for judges and court personnel. Beginning in 2003, he was an active faculty member of the National Judicial College. He was a member of the teaching faculty of the National Drug Court Institute. He was a senior consultant to the United States Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration GAINS Center for persons with co-occurring mental health and substance use issues. He frequently presented for the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education in Georgia and presented continuing education training in 32 states. He published book chapters and articles on mental health and drug courts, mental competency issues, co-occurring disorders, trauma impacts on behavioral health, trial court professionalism issues and death penalty litigation. He was a trainer in southwest Georgia for many years for Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for law enforcement officers dealing with persons struggling with behavioral health issues.

Steve served on numerous civic boards and community organizations in Albany. He served as a trustee of the Dougherty County Public Library System, and was a longtime member of the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany. He was a president of the Artesian City Sertoma Club, and a graduate of Leadership Albany. He was the 2001 recipient of the Man and Youth award from the Albany Boys and Girls Club and the Georgia CARE award for his work with youth in the court system. He received the Francis Brock award for consumer support from the Georgia Mental Health Consumers Network and twice received the Ellen Raulerson award from the Albany Advocacy Resource Center for his work involving people with mental health and cognitive disabilities.

Steve married the former Dee Collins of Cotton, Mitchell County, Georgia. She has taught middle school in Albany for thirty-three years. They are the parents of two daughters, Collins and Clark, and a son, Clint. Steve and Dee were members of Porterfield United Methodist Church in Albany.

Judge Stephen S. Goss passed away on August 24, 2019.