ATLANTA --- Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines of Marietta, Ga. has been elected as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson announced he was stepping down back in July after serving forty-five years on the bench. Although his current term ends in August of 2017, Presiding Justice P. Harris will assume his new position in early January. Justice Harold D. Melton will assume the position of Presiding Justice.

A graduate of Emory University and Emory University’s School of Law, Presiding Justice Hines was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1995 by Governor Zell Miller. Prior to that, he served as a judge of the State Court in Cobb County for eight years and as Superior Court Judge of the Cobb Judicial Circuit for over 12 years. He serves as Chair of the Georgia Supreme Court’s Committee on Justice for Children.

The state’s Chief Justice presides over Georgia’s judicial branch. As the main spokesperson for the Court and the entire judiciary, the Chief Justice presides over oral arguments and runs meetings where the Court issues decisions in cases.

Both Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines and Justice Harold D. Melton will be sworn in on Friday, January 6, 2017.