Herbert Phipps, the presiding judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, awaits his family to stand next to his portrait for a photo in the Kelley Courtroom at the Dougherty County Courthouse. Phipps will serve as the guest speaker Thursday at the Albany Civil Rights Institute's monthly Community Night.
ALBANY, Ga. — One of Southwest Georgia’s most accomplished judges was honored with a portrait that will grace the walls of the Dougherty County Judicial Building where he presided.
Herbert Phipps transcended his birth in poverty-stricken Baker County to become a revered attorney and accomplished jurist on his way to becoming the presiding judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, a position he currently holds.
On Monday, Phipps was enshrined along side some of Dougherty County’s other notable judges who have been forever connected to the courthouse through portraits in a touching ceremony.
The portrait, which was commissioned by the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and was taken by local photographer Adrian Jenkins, was unveiled by Phipps’ wife, Connie, and his son, Herbert Phipps Jr., in the Asa Kelley Courtroom at the judicial building on Monday.
After teaching abroad in Thailand, Phipps returned to Albany in 1971 to work for civil rights attorney C.B. King. From 1983 until 1995, Phipps maintained his own practice while concurrently serving as a magistrate and then a Juvenile Court judge. In 1995, then-Gov. Zell Miller appointed him to serve as Dougherty County Superior Court judge and he was elected to a four-year-term in 1996. In 1999, he was appointed by then-Gov. Roy Barnes to the Georgia Court of Appeals, where he became a presiding judge in 2010. He is unopposed this year for a new term on the Appeals Court.
Tony Jones, a member of the fraternity’s Delta Delta Boule chapter and former city solicitor, said that Phipps is the example members of the group strive to be and is worthy of a place of honor in the courthouse.
“We thought about it and thought, here is a member of our group who has done significant things. And so when the time came to honor him, we didn’t ask or solicit the assistance of any other organization,” Jones said. “We thought it fitting as members of Sigma Pi Phi, men of honor and distinction, to bestow this honor onto one of our own.”
John J. Ellington, the chief judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, said that Phipps was a fair and responsible judge who was emblematic of south Georgia values.
“It’s a long way from Baker County to becoming the presiding judge of Court of Appeals,” Ellington said. “This man has made the journey with class, hard work, excellence and sacrifice.”