Superior Court Chief Judge Willie E. Lockette of the
Dougherty Judicial Circuit in Albany has been designated to serve in place of Justice Harold D.
Melton in the appeal of The State v. Morrow (S16G0584). The Supreme Court of Georgia will hear
arguments in the case on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 during its 10:00 A.M. session. In this Cherokee
County case, the State is appealing a Georgia Court of Appeals decision that reversed the sexual
assault conviction of a school paraprofessional who had sexual relations with a 16-year-old student.
In addition to hearing arguments, Judge Lockette will participate in the Court’s decision.
Chief Judge Lockette, 67, was elected to the Dougherty Superior Court in 1996, and has been
re-elected without opposition five times. Prior to being a Superior Court Judge, he served two years
as an Associate Judge and nearly three years as Chief Judge of the Magistrate Court of Dougherty
He began his legal career as a staff attorney with Georgia Legal Services Program’s Albany,
GA office, where he was later promoted to Managing Attorney. He practiced primarily in 28
southwest Georgia counties and had cases before the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Georgia
Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits.
He represented numerous poor Georgia citizens in civil matters, and successfully litigated
several significant cases in Georgia trial courts and state and federal appellate courts. In recognition
of these efforts, the State Bar of Georgia made him the first recipient of the “Dan Bradley Award for
Public Service.”
Chief Judge Lockette has served on several commissions, including the Consumer Advisory
Board, the Georgia Family Violence Commission, the Welfare Reform Task Force, and the Georgia
Public Defender Standards Council and Equality Commission.
Chief Judge Lockette is a native southwest Georgian, and an honor graduate of Fort Valley
State University and the University of Illinois College of Law. He and his wife, Helen, have one son
and three daughters, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Chief Judge Lockette is an
ordained Baptist minister and served 12 years as Pastor’s Assistant at his home church.
(Designated judges are appointed when a justice must recuse himself or herself from a
particular case. The Supreme Court of Georgia maintains a list of judges from around the state and
when the need arises, the Court appoints the next judge on the list.)