Atlanta, October 12, 2017 – Justice Michael P. Boggs today received the St. Thomas More Award for his leadership in criminal justice reform. The prestigious award is given annually to one or more judges or lawyers who have stood out in their commitment to justice and humanity. Also honored today was Steven Gottlieb, Executive Director of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.
Justice Boggs, who was appointed last December to the Supreme Court of Georgia, received the honor at a luncheon following this morning’s Red Mass at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Atlanta. The Red Mass is a yearly celebration and prayer service for judges that dates back to the Middle Ages in England. Atlanta’s St. Thomas More Society has embraced the tradition since
Justice Boggs has been a leader in the move to reform Georgia’s criminal justice system. The goal of the reform has been to improve public safety and save taxpayer dollars by creating alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders. Justice Boggs has served on Georgia’s Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform since 2011. In 2012, Governor Nathan Deal appointed him to serve as the council’s co-chair, and he has served in that capacity since.
As a judge in south Georgia, Justice Boggs was one of the earliest supporters of specialty or “accountability” courts, which include drug courts, DUI courts and mental health courts. He founded the Waycross Judicial Circuit Drug Court Program, served as its Presiding Judge, and also has served as a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia’s Standing Committee on Accountability Courts.
“We are very proud of our colleague,” Chief Justice P. Harris Hines said. “His leadership in criminal justice reform has been recognized nationally, and he is worthy of this honor.”