The judges of the Western Judicial Circuit have chosen Eric Norris to be the circuit’s new chief judge.
Judge H. Patrick Haggard Stepped down as chief judge on April 30, and Norris was selected to take his place the following day.
Norris was appointed to the Superior Court bench in 2016, to fill a newly-created judgeship in the judicial circuit. Two years later, Norris was elected to the bench in his own right.
Norris started his general law practice in 1996 in both civil and criminal cases that gave the foundational building blocks for the types of cases litigated in Magistrate, Probate, and Superior Courts. Norris has served as Chief Magistrate Judge for Oconee County, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Georgia Army National Guard, and in private law practice. Judge Norris is currently the Presiding Judge over the Western Judicial Circuit’s Treatment and Accountability Court, a mental health court docket for persons who have been charged with a criminal offense that is informed by their mental illness.
Norris has served in numerous legal, civic, and military roles, including president of the Western Judicial Bar Association, the 10th Judicial District’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, the Western Judicial Circuit Public Defender Supervisory Committee, and the Judicial Council of Georgia’s Judicial Workload Assessment Committee.
Norris has also served as president of the Oconee County Rotary Club and is a graduate of Leadership Oconee, a member of the Oconee State Bank Citizens Advisory Board, a North Oconee High School Mock Trial Coach, and a Judge for the Georgia Mock Trial competitions.
Norris has served for 34 years in the Georgia Army National Guard as a signal officer, field artillery officer, and later as inspector general. He has held command from company level to battalion command.
Norris has received numerous military awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
He plans to retire from the Georgia Army National Guard in June.