First black female judge appointed in Marietta
by Rachel Gray
January 29, 2014 12:45 AM | 6550 views | 2 2 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cheryl Richardson
Cheryl Richardson
MARIETTA — Mayor Steve Tumlin has appointed the city’s first black female judge, Cheryl Richardson, three years after appointing the city’s first black male judge, Nathan Wade.

On stage at the Civic Center during Cobb’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, Wade thanked Tumlin for the appointments.

“The judicial bench should reflect the people who live here,” Tumlin said.

The Marietta City Council approved Richardson’s appointment as an associate judge on Jan. 8.Wade was appointed as an associate judge for the Marietta Municipal Court on Jan. 27, 2010.

Tumlin said he “made a concerted effort” to make the judicial arm of Marietta more diverse, but when it came down to specific candidates, the appointments were based on a person’s qualifications.

Tumlin said Wade was an obvious choice in 2010 because he is well-respected in the legal community. Since taking the position, Tumlin has heard “good things” about Wade’s enthusiasm for the job.

“I was delighted to give him that chance,” Tumlin said. “He is basically an ambassador for the city.”

Richardson, who opened the Richardson Legal Services law firm off Whitlock Avenue in 2004, said she is proud of Tumlin’s commitment to “adding diversity and depth to the court.”

The new Marietta judge

Tumlin said Cheryl Richardson, 53, who is single with no children, is very active in the community.

“She is a real street lawyer,” Tumlin said. “She is an exceptional person.”

Tumlin said he liked Richardson’s military background and that she owns a home in Marietta.

“To me, a judge needs to be a part of us,” Tumlin said.

On Thursday, Richardson started teaching a class on estate planning and probate law at The College of Continuing and Professional Education at Kennesaw State University.

“Teaching adults who want to learn and want to be there is a blast,” Richardson said.

She also began serving on Marietta’s Planning Commission in May 2013.

Richardson said she wanted to be involved in determining how the city is developed.

“It matters to me how the city ties together and where things go,” Richardson said about the impact of commercial developments on residential neighborhoods.

After a tour of Red Hare Brewing Co. this summer, Richardson spoke during Planning Commission meetings against breweries or distilleries moving closer to residential areas.

Childhood as a ‘military brat’

Richardson was born in Germany and has lived in Seattle and Alaska. Her family relocated several times as a child because her father, David Richardson, was in the Army, retiring as a major in 1970.

Because of her father’s influence and her love of traveling, Richardson joined the Army and retired in 2004 as a lieutenant colonel.

Richardson was stationed overseas in the first Golf War during Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991.

“While sitting in the desert, waiting for the war to begin,” Richardson said she decided to study for the law school admissions test.

When Richardson was stationed at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, she worked all day and then went straight to night school until 10 p.m. to earn her law degree.

Then Richardson moved to Cobb in August 2001 when she was stationed at Fort McPherson.

“Living in Marietta is the longest I have lived anywhere in my life,” Richardson said.

More appointments in Richardson’s future?

Tumlin said Richardson was highly recommended by former Marietta City Councilwoman Annette Lewis.

Councilman Stuart Fleming, who beat Lewis in a close race during last year’s election, has also been a “strong advocate” for Richardson’s appointment, Tumlin said.

Days before the November election, Richardson moderated a debate between Lewis and Fleming.

“That is what I love about Marietta. I have had such great opportunities,” Richardson said.

Richardson said the associate judge sits on the bench if the chief judge is not available to hear cases about code enforcement or traffic violations in Marietta.

Being an associate judge may not lead to any further appointments, but “if nothing else, it will open other doors for other people in other places,” Richardson said.

Richardson said other opportunities will likely arise for other judgeships, but she does not have an exact position in mind.

“I have always had a love for juvenile issues,” Richardson said. “I have a little soul searching to do.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
February 25, 2014
This is historical for the county, so yes it is news. Considering the history of people of color and women, this is definitely worthy of news.
January 30, 2014
"black": I can already see that.

"female": I can see that too.

And this is somehow news?
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