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Hall County Juvenile Court Judge honored

Mary Carden set to retire on Dec. 6

POSTED: November 22, 2013 11:24 p.m.

Retiring Juvenile Court Judge Mary Carden, left, greets well-wishers and makes introductions Friday afternoon at her courthouse reception.

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Outgoing Hall County Juvenile Court Judge Mary Carden was honored by friends and colleagues Friday afternoon at the Hall County Courthouse.

“She has a passion second to no one, especially for teenagers that are in foster care,” fellow Juvenile Judge Cliff Jolliff said. He has known Carden since 1970 when the two served as attorneys with Georgia Legal Services in the Savannah area.

Carden, who officially retires Dec. 6, became a part time associate judge of Hall’s Juvenile Court in 1997, and in 2004 when she was appointed as a full time Juvenile Court Judge for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit.

Judge Andrew Fuller made remarks on behalf of his Superior Court colleagues, saying that Carden’s 10 years as a full-time judge “speak for themselves.”

“There’s no more important court. That court demands, like all courts, that you be fair and be impartial and that you provide justice,” Fuller said. “I hope you take pride in knowing you were successful in that endeavor.”

Carden said the work has been tough but fulfilling.

“If you’ve never been in a juvenile court, it is a Pandora’s box of bad things that can happen to children in this world,” she said, her words catching with emotion. “When you see the problem, you’ve got to fix it.”

She expressed her gratitude to the staff and volunteers who have worked in the court during her time on the bench.

“To all of you who volunteer or work in the court, you’re really wonderful people,” she said. “I’m going to miss you all.”

But the afternoon wasn’t all solemn thanks and heavy words. Carden’s colleagues were sure to draw attention to her infamously strict — and specific — juvenile court dress code. Her staff gifted her two pairs of flip-flops: casual and formal.

“These are the bane of my existence,” Carden said with a laugh, noting for the record that they are now, “my only two pairs of flip-flops.”


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