Georgia's first African-American appeals court chief judge dies

The court's current chief judge, M. Yvette Miller, said in a news release Monday that Ruffin died suddenly Friday at Piedmont Hospital.

Ruffin was appointed to the court in 1994 by then-Gov. Zell Miller. He rose to chief judge in 2006. He retired from the court in 2008. He previously served as a superior court judge in the Augusta judicial circuit and was among the first African-American lawyers to work in that circuit, according to the court of appeals. He had a practice in the 1960s and '70s that involved civil rights litigation.

A wake has been scheduled for Friday 6-8 p.m. at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, 1223 Laney Walker Blvd. in Augusta. The funeral will be held at the same location Saturday at 11 a.m.

Ruffin is survived by his wife, Judith Ruffin; one son, Brinkley Ruffin; daughter-in-law Candace Ruffin, of Indianapolis, and two grandsons; and his father, John Ruffin, Sr., of Birmingham.

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