Albany Native Ken Hodges Throws Hat in Ring for State Court of Appeals
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
When you talk to Ken Hodges, you quickly learn there’s probably only one other thing that he knows more about than his hometown of Albany; and that’s the Georgia legal system.
Born and raised in Albany, this seasoned attorney has handled both sides of civil litigation as well as both sides of criminal law.
After beginning his legal career in Atlanta, he did a stint as Assistant District Attorney in Albany before leaving to help his ill father with his law practice.
“I didn’t like the way the DA’s office was representing victims, so I ran for DA in 1996,” he says. “I thought I was only going to serve one term, but I ended up staying for three terms. I literally tried more than 100 cases during my time as a prosecutor. I loved every minute of it.”
Hodges left that office and eventually ended up in a large national firm, but soon realized that career path left him with no time to do what he really loves to do—help out people in need when they need him the most. So, he started his own law firm two years ago and he says, “it’s going great.”
But, when he found out there would be an open seat in the upcoming 2018 election for the State Court of Appeals, Hodges says he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hopefully bring his unique skill set, experience and South Georgia roots to a court where he feels he can truly make a difference.
“I can bring to the Court the experience that few people have,” Hodges explains. “I have tried cases at every level of court in Georgia. I’ve been there and done it; representing individuals, small companies, multinational companies—everything from the most simple to the most complex.
“I have extensive experience as a prosecutor and I’ve also done some criminal defense work. I have extensive civil experience as well, and I want to bring my broad range of experience to the Court.”
Another reason for running? He wants to bring his South Georgia viewpoint to a Court that currently lacks it. If elected, Hodges will be the only judge on the Court that is from south of Macon.
“Most of the judges on the court now are from Atlanta. I feel it’s important to bring geographical diversity to the Court and it’s important to have that viewpoint from a smaller town. This Court represents all of Georgia, so I think it needs Judges from all of Georgia serving on it.
“… I’m not planning to run because another judge is not doing the job correctly. I’m running to continue my service to the people of Georgia and to bring my broad base of experience to the Court.”
And Hodges explains that his experience and background are important to this role because appellate judges are different than trial judges and must work collaboratively to handle a case. They also see all kinds of cases; the kind of cases Hodges has actually handled himself in a courtroom.
“You look at the Supreme Court; they make decisions together as a group. The Appeals Court is similar, but sits in panels of three, so the three of them decide together … I’m going to bring my very diverse and broad based experience in trying and handling a lot of cases.”
Hodges says he is excited to begin his campaign across the state to draw attention to this important race. And he adds the attention is needed since his category will not be at the top of the ballot.
“The top of the ticket you see the names of the people running for governor and attorney general, and they will be spending millions to persuade the voter to cast a ballot for them,” he explains. “The percentage of people who vote on the names toward the bottom of the ballot drops by as much as a third, which is troubling. Maybe it’s because people don’t know the people on the ballot or maybe they just don’t care, but they should care; judges literally affect every aspect of everyone’s life. It’s important to know who is running so you can pick a judge that you know will be fair.”
Hodges brought on former Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss as his campaign chairman and his treasurer is the former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, Ed Johnson, the same Court he is looking to serve on.
“I’ll be going around the state, doing meet and greets, speaking with people and talking to civic clubs about my candidacy … so I can promote awareness that I’m running and about the office I’m running for. I’m looking forward to getting the word out.”
Also, importantly, as a business owner Hodges has to face all of the issues that small business owners face – he makes payroll, he addresses personnel matters, and he manages the operational issues of the law firm. A former member of the boards of the Albany Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Hodges understands business.