Judge Tammy Cox Stokes finds that the most rewarding part of her job is being able to make a positive impact on someone’s life, though those standing before her may not believe that is what she has set out to do. The 1979 A.E. Beach High School Homecoming Queen had different plans after high school, she was interested in becoming a News Anchor, but life has a funny way of working out. After evaluating herself and what appealed to her likes, Stokes decided to major in Psychology with plans to become a clinical psychologist.
Association tends to lead to assimilation, which is what shaped Judge Stokes’ life and career. With a helping spirit, she often volunteered reading to a blind law student; this act of kindness changed her interests. Stokes left University of Georgia with an undergrad degree in clinical psychology and also with a law degree of her own from the University of Georgia School of Law.
Stokes feels that because she was guided and nurtured by so many, it is only right to give back to others. Some organizations she is affiliated with include Leadership Savannah, Savannah Bar Association, Goodness and Mercy Foundation, Georgia Council for Municipal Judges, and several others.
Over the years Stokes has had many accomplishments. In 2000, she was named as one of Savannah Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 top business achievers. She was appointed to bench in 2004, making her the first African American woman judge in Chatham County. 2008 brought about another achievement. Stokes became the first African American woman to serve as President of the Georgia Municipal Court Judges Council. In 2012, Stokes was granted the opportunity to grace the cover of South Magazine. In the same year, she was sworn in as Chatham County’s Recorder’s Court Chief Judge.
The career of Judge Stokes has taken her a few places before returning home. Stokes has worked as a trial attorney in Washington, D. C. and Atlanta before coming back to make herself available to the Savannah area. She has been on the bench close to ten years now and sees herself there for many more years. “I will be here as long as I can,” she says with a bright smile.
Stokes finds that she is good at keeping her emotions out of a decision, good at hearing what’s presented to her and applying the law. “I’m a balanced thinker. I’m good at seeing a case from different perspective and I always try to make the best decision.” While there’s no case in mind that she regrets her ruling on, Stokes says there are cases that stick with her after time.
Judge Tammy Cox Stokes is a role model in the area. She personifies how much hard work, dedication, and a kind heart can benefit those in the community. The Savannah-Tribune salutes Judge Stokes during Women’s History Month.