Superior Court Judge Stephen S. Goss
ALBANY — According to the Supreme Court of Georgia, an Albany judge will join justices on the bench Tuesday to hear an appeal in a murder case.
“Superior Court Judge Stephen S. Goss of the Dougherty Judicial Circuit has been designated to serve in place of Justice Hugh Thompson in the appeal of Danenberg v. the State,” the high court said in a news release.
The release added that while sitting on the state’s highest court bench at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Goss will hear arguments and participate in the court’s decision.
“In my experience this happens three or four times in a year when a justice cannot hear a case because of some involvement in the case, or his family is involved, or for some other reason,” Goss said Thursday. “I look forward to the opportunity. It isn’t often we get a chance. It will be an interesting experience for me.”
The murder appeal case Goss will add his judgment to stems from legal complications dating back more than two decades in Jones County.
According to the website for The Jones County News, jcnews.com, Robert Danenberg entered a guilty plea in 1989 to fatally shooting his estranged wife’s friend once in the chest and three times in the head with a .45-caliber weapon.
In 2005, a writ of habeas corpus was granted, giving Danenberg the right to a new trial. The court found that Danenberg’s previous attorney had a conflict of interest and provided inadequate assistance.
In a 2008 trial, a jury found Danenberg guilty. The court sentenced him to life in prison. No word was available Thursday from the Supreme Court on the basis of Danenberg’s appeal scheduled for Tuesday.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss’ background
Judge Stephen Goss, 50, was appointed to the Dougherty County Superior Court in 1999 by then-Gov. Roy Barnes. He has been elected three times. Previously, he served as the Dougherty County Juvenile Court Judge and as president of the Dougherty Circuit Bar Association.
He was in private law practice in Albany for 13 years and has tried and argued cases in courtrooms across Georgia, including the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Georgia Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Judge Goss served as president of the Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia and was a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia.
Goss founded and today presides over the Dougherty Superior Court Mental Health/Substance Abuse program, the first felony mental health court in Georgia. The program serves as one of five national Learning Sites for mental health courts as designated by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Council of State Governments. Judge Goss serves on the teaching faculty of the National Judicial College and the National Drug Court Institute, teaching and consulting with courts across the country about treatment programs for offenders with mental and substance abuse issues.
In his community, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany. He is a former trustee of the Dougherty County Library System. A native southwest Georgian, Judge Goss was an honor graduate of both the University of Georgia and University of Georgia School of Law and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.
He and his wife, Dee, have two daughters and a son. They are members of Covenant Presbyterian Church, where Goss is a long-time Sunday School teacher and former Elder.
— From the Supreme Court of Georgia