The longest-serving Superior Court judge in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit has announced his intention to retire at the end of the year before his four-year term is complete.
Judge Frank J. Jordan confirmed Monday that he will inform Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal this week that Dec. 31 will be his last day on the bench. He told his colleagues, the other six Superior Court judges, of his retirement plans during a meeting on Thursday.
Deal will appoint Jordan’s successor. If Jordan had remained in the judgeship, he would have been up for re-election in May.
Jordan, 70, said the decision to retire after a more than 45-year legal career was made after lengthy conversations with his wife, Pamela.
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“My wife and I are both still working, and we have talked about this,” Jordan said. “The timing just felt right.”
Jordan’s two children and seven grandchildren live out of state and that was another consideration, he said.
“This job ties you down and we don’t get to see them as much as we would like,” Jordan said.
Jordan was an attorney practicing in Talbot and surrounding counties for more than 28 years before being appointed to the Superior Court bench in July 2000 by then-governor Roy Barnes. When he leaves, he will have been on the bench more than 17 years.
Jordan has handled a number of high-profile cases during his career. In September, he denied convicted “Stocking Strangler” Carlton Gary a new trial or new sentencing based on new evidence. Gary is a convicted serial killer who terrorized the Wynnton neighborhood of Columbus from September 1977 to April 1978.
Jordan’s ruling has ignited the process that could lead Gary to face the Georgia death penalty, to which he was sentenced in 1986 after being convicted of three the seven cases in the rape and strangulation of elderly women.
Jordan said he is most proud of starting a drug court in Columbus 10 years ago. The accountability court allows those accused of drug-related offenses to enter counseling and rehabilitation programs with the goal to end the addiction.
He saw a drug court in action in 2002, while attending a conference in Reno, Nev. It took almost five years before he could, with the help of others in and out of the court system, activate such a court in Muscogee County.
“It took a lot more people than just me to get this started,” Jordan said. “But over the years, it has been a calling.”
Jordan is a lifelong resident of Talbotton, where he was the valedictorian of his Talbot County High School Class. He graduated with honors from both Mercer University and Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, according to his biography on the city of Columbus' website.
Jordan is an Army veteran, having served as a captain before he was honorably discharged. He has also served on the Talbot County School Board.