Chatham County Commissioners Recognize Retiring Judges

Pictured L-R: Judge Herman Coolidge, Judge James Bass and Judge Greg Fowler
Pictured L-R: Judge Herman Coolidge, Judge James Bass and Judge Greg Fowler

On Friday, December 18, 2020, Chatham County Commissioners recognized 3 judges who have decided “It’s just that time in my life,” said Judge Coolidge. “I want to retire while I’m still able physically to do some things.” The Commissioners recognized Judge Hermann W. Coolidge, Jr., on his retirement from Chatham County State Court after 16 years of service. Coolidge received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from Mercer University before he was admitted to the practice of law in 1973. Coolidge won election in 2004 to fill the then newly created third State Court judgeship created to deal with huge increases in cases over the previous nine years. He joined Fowler and Ronald Ginsberg on the court. Coolidge had practiced law since 1973 and over a 23-year period beginning in 1978 served on various municipal and magistrate courts in Savannah and surrounding municipalities.

The Commissioners also recognized Judge James F. Bass, Jr. who was appointed to the Superior Court on May 18, 1995 by Governor Zell Miller. Prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Bass was the Supervising Attorney for the Savannah Regional Office of the Georgia Legal Services Program. He formerly served as Chairman of the Access to Justice and Fairness in the Courts committee of the Council of Superior Court Judges from 2000- 2008, and Chairman of the Georgia State Commission on Family Violence from 2006-2009. Additionally, he was a member of the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Marriage, Children and Family Law from 2007- 2009, the Georgia Supreme Court Committee on Equality and the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Drug Courts from 2006-2009. He currently serves on the Accountability and Treatment Courts Committee of the Council of Superior Court Judges, the Peer Review Team of the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia and the Executive Committee of the Council of Accountability Court Judges of Georgia. Judge Bass began the first Accountability Court in Chatham County on October 2, 2001 with the establishment of the Savannah Chatham County Drug Court.

Also recognized was Judge H. Gregory Fowler who is the chief judge of the Chatham County State Court in Georgia. He has held this position since May of 1995. “It’s just that time,” said Judge Greg Fowler. “I’m getting older and it’s just time to find other things to do.”

Judge Fowler graduated from the University of Georgia in 1973 with a B.B.A. degree. He continued on to receive J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from this school in 1977 and 1979, respectively. In addition to his State Court duties, he has served as a DUI Court Judge since May of 2003, when the court was formed. Fowler was appointed to the bench as chief judge in May 1995. Before taking the bench, he practiced law for 18 years in both criminal and civil law, much of that time spent with the late Savannah attorney John Wright Jones’ firm.

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