Carley sends governor formal retirement notice

Georgia Supreme Court Justice George Carley formally served notice Monday to Gov. Nathan Deal that he intends to resign on July 17.

Carley also asked Deal to appoint him to be a senior appellate court judge so he can to continue to consider motions filed in cases that were decided by the court when he was still an active justice and also because he hopes to serve as a senior judge in other courts after his retirement. Last year, the court's justices voted to allow Carley to serve as chief justice for two months before he steps down from the bench.

Carley would have been next in line to become the court's chief justice based on seniority, but he has said there was no chance he would seek reelection. Under state law, judges cannot collect their pensions if they stay on the bench after they turn 75. Carley will be 74 when his term ends next year.

Carol Hunstein's term as chief justice, scheduled to end June 30, 2013, will be extended another two months.

Carley told Deal he picked a July 17 retirement date because July 16 is the day when all the court's "January term" cases must be decided. "Because I would have been involved in all such cases, it is imperative that I participate in the resolution of all January term cases," Carley wrote.

Carley said he had 32 years of "enjoyable and fulfilling service" as a judge on the state Court of Appeals and a justice on the state Supreme Court. Because of the court's pressing workload, he added, he was informing Deal now of his planned retirement so the governor could begin the process of selecting Carley's successor so a new justice can be sworn in immediately after his resignation.