Georgia juvenile judge dies days before she was slated to retire

She was the first female judge in Alcovy

A Georgia veteran juvenile judge died Sunday, just days before she was slated to retire.

Newton County Judge Sheri Capes Roberts passed away Sunday after enduring ongoing health issues, according to a report by the Rockdale Newton Citizen. Roberts was to retire May 1 after more than 10 years on the bench of the Juvenile Court in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit.

Last week, the State Bar of Georgia honored the longtime judge with a letter of recognition, denoting that she was the first woman to serve in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit upon her appointment to the juvenile court bench in 2009.

“During her innovative tenure, she established a Family Treatment Court among other programs and projects to assist children and families involved in the Juvenile Court,” read the Bar’s letter. “Judge Roberts’ colleagues in the Georgia legal community appreciate the many contributions she has made through her service to the public and the justice system.”

Roberts, a member of the Bar since 1993, earned a number of honors during her tenure, including a MacArthur Foundation Champion For Change Award, according to the Citizen report. She was also appointed to the board of directors of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Newton County Commission Chairman Marcello Banes said Tuesday that her passing is not only a loss for her family and coworkers but also the children and families she served.

“She touched so many lives both in her role as a judge and advocate for Newton County’s juveniles and as a co-worker, peer and friend,” Banes said in a statement. “The sudden passing has definitely placed a void in our One Newton family but we know that her spirit of excellence will be felt for many years to come.”

On Monday, Juvenile Court Judge Stanley J. Rhymer in Walton County appointed Judge Roberts’ associate judge, Jenny Simchick Carter, to succeed Roberts until her term expires Dec. 31.

Roberts completed her bachelor and master’s degrees at the University of Georgia. She worked in banking for a while before returning to law school and obtaining her juris doctor degree from UGA.