Ray Smith and Don Montgomery will be sworn in Thursday by Gov. Nathan Deal as Bryan County’s state court judge and solicitor general, respectively. Both are unopposed on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Smith, Bryan County’s solicitor general since 1992, did not face any opposition in the May primary, either. He replaces Judge Jack E. Carney Jr., who retired. Montgomery, the top vote-getter in a three way primary for solicitor general, defeated Andrew Johnson in a runoff last month, garnering 54 percent of the vote. Smith resigned as solicitor general to accept the judicial appointment, meaning that seat had to also be filled. Their terms normally would have begun in January.
Smith was appointed state court judge in the early 1980s before running for solicitor general. Carney was appointed a senior judge by Deal on June 1 and has continued to hear cases.
“Judge Carney is leaving the court in as fine a shape as any court in the state,” Smith said. “There’s no backlog of cases that I’m aware of.”
Smith said there are some cases Carney has agreed to assist with because of Smith’s role as solicitor general.
“With some of the more serious cases it would be a conflict of interest for me to sit as judge when I was the one making the case against them in the first place,” he said.
Montgomery said he will maintain his private practice part-time as the solicitor general position for Bryan County is considered part-time status by the Legislature.
“This just accelerates everything that needed to be done but we had a good handle on the calendar,” he said. “I think the governor figured we were already the people moving into these positions, so it gives the county some stability.”