ATLANTA (CBS46)—A Georgia judge who made national headlines in 2016 is at it again. However, this time around she is making headlines and history.
Governor Brian Kemp appointed Judge Verda M. Colvin to serve on the state’s highest bench.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, Judge Colvin will now be the first African-American female appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court by a Republican governor.
Governor Kemp appointed her to the Court of Appeals of Georgia in 2020.
In 2016, Justice Colvin made national headlines when she addressed at-risk teens in her courtroom. The teens were participating in a Scared-Straight type of program out of Bibb County.
While the justice addressed the teens, unbeknownst to her, one of her courtroom bailiffs recorded her 'tough love' speech, making the video go viral.
In the recording, Justice Colvin told the teens, “The way you are going, you will go to jail or you will end up in this body bag.”
At another moment in the video, Justice Colvin said, “Young ladies, whether anyone has ever told you before or not, you are special, you are uniquely made; stop acting like you are trash and putting pictures of yourselves on the internet. Stop being disrespectful to your parents, be somebody. I don’t expect to ever see you all in my courtroom again like this.”
At several points in the video, courtroom officers were seeing passing out tissue to the teens.
“I am sick and tired of seeing people who look like you and I come in my courtroom, and I have to sentence them to prison. And then you hear them fussing on T.V. about African-Americans being in the prison system. Well guess what, if you don’t do what it takes to go [to prision], you won’t be a part of it.”
Born and raised in Atlanta, Judge Colvin attended D.M. Therrell High School.
Colvin replaces former justice Harold Melton, who recently left the court to enter private practice.
At the time, Melton was the only Black judge on the Georgia Supreme Court.