Chattahoochee Chatter: Chief Judge John Allen steps aside

August 22, 2012 

There are changes on the way in the leadership of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.

Chief Judge John Allen confirmed Wednesday he is stepping down as chief judge at the end of the year. Allen was recently elected to a four-year term and will continue to serve as a Superior Court judge, he just won't be handling the administrative and procedural duties that come with being the leader among equals.

The six Superior Court judges have voted to make Judge Gil McBride, who like Allen was re-elected in July without opposition, as the new chief judge. McBride has been on the bench for four years.

His election is an unusual move and breaks years of tradition, which normally places the judge with most seniority in the chief position. If that had been followed, Judge Frank Jordan would have been named chief judge.

That didn't happen. Allen declined to reveal the vote total.

"Part of the reason to step aside as chief judge is to assist the new judge in getting adjusted," Allen said.

McBride, who will serve a two-year term as chief judge, called it an honor.

"I am looking at it as concensus-builder-in-chief," he said. "With us being equals, part of my job is to build consensus, whether it be between judges or the city councils and county commissions."

The Chattahoochee circuit covers six counties.


Now, onto people who appear in front of judges. You can just call it "Broadway syndrome."

Its latest appearance: Brittany Maerz, 23, who was charged early Saturday with disorderly while intoxicated and obstruction of an officer.

According to police, Maerz was at 11th Street and Broadway about 2 a.m. Saturday when someone punched her husband. Maerz started cursing and hitting her husband's attacker.

That led police to tell her to leave. An intoxicated Maerz refused, and police said she had "a severe disruptive behavior."

Officers arrested Maerz, who wouldn't get inside their patrol car. Police forced her inside the car, and Maerz started kicking at its windows and at two officers, reports state.

Eventually, Maerz calmed down, police said. That didn't stop officers from charging her, though.


Marsha Mason, membership manager at the Columbus Museum, says that work is being done to get a historic marker for the museum's Olmsted Garden designating its place on the National Register of Historic Places.

The garden, built in 1928, is one of the few built for a private party by Olmsted & Olmsted, sons of Frederic Law Olmsted, who is considered the founder of American landscape architecture.

Public places designed by the Olmsted firm include Central Park in New York, and university campuses such as Stanford, Yale and Auburn.

The garden was built for W.C. Bradley, who owned the museum site.The marker would refer to the garden as the Bradley Olmsted Garden.

"We're very proud of the garden," Mason said.

The museum is in the Overlook-Wynn's Hill Historic District.


If you love the outdoors at Fort Benning, you don't want to miss the annual Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Recreation Open House today at the Benning Conference Center.

The 5-8:30 p.m. event gives you a chance to learn about outdoor events, activities on post and the latest news on hunting and fishing regulations. There will also be hands-on games and activities for children.

While the event is free, you can also purchase a raffle ticket for $2.50 for a list of prizes that include a $500 Bass Pro gift cards, Leupold scope, tree stand, Garmin GPS, camera and rod and reel.Get tickets at Outdoor Recreation on Gillespie Street or call 706-545-9636.

-- Ledger-Enquirer staff writers contribute to this report. Contact them at,

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