The city of Duluth has appointed its first black judge.
Gwinnett County lawyer Tiffany Porter has been appointed associate judge for the city. In that role, Porter oversees cases including local traffic offenses and city ordinance violations. Felony and misdemeanor cases are generally handled by the Gwinnett County judicial system.
“I can’t believe that it’s 2019 and we’re saying first, but I’m honored to be the first and have that position,” Porter said.
Being first isn’t new for Porter. She was the first person in her family to go to college, and the first to get a law degree, she said. Now, she hopes that her visibility as an African-American woman on the bench will be helpful for others.
“The bench should reflect the community that it is serving,” Porter said. “I come from very humble beginnings, and I want to inspire people to be what they want to be and work hard.”
Gwinnett County’s judicial bench has become more diverse in recent years, with Judge Ronda Colvin-Leary becoming the first African-American elected to a Gwinnett County State Court judgeship in May 2018 and Judge Tadia D. Whitner becoming the first African-American Superior Court judge in the county. Whitner was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp in June. Kemp also appointed Judge Angela D. Duncan to the Gwinnett County Superior Court last week. Duncan is believed to be the first LGBTQ person to be appointed to a judgeship by Kemp.
The hiring process for the associate judgeship began in February. Porter was officially appointed to the position by a Duluth City Council vote on Oct. 15.
Porter will continue to practice law while she holds the judgeship, as it is not a full-time position. She has her own firm and practices criminal defense, personal injury, real estate and sports and entertainment law. Porter also works as a sports agent and a commentator for CourtTV, which was relaunched as a digital network in May.
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