Several big changes to the bench have recently taken place in the Liberty County Magistrate Court with two associate judges stepping down. Associate Judge Angela C. Rogers retired on July 9, 2021, after over thirty (30) years of distinguished service to the Magistrate Court. After working with the District Attorney’s Office and the Liberty County Clerk’s Office, Rogers began her career with the Liberty County Magistrate Court in 1989 as a deputy clerk. A few years later, in 1995, Chief Magistrate Judge Melinda Anderson appointed Rogers as a part-time associate magistrate judge which later developed into a full-time associate judgeship in 2009.
Through the years, Rogers has presided over every possible proceeding that is handled within the magistrate court’s jurisdiction, to include arrest and search warrants, first appearance and bond hearings, and all manner of civil actions. Rogers was known as being a very candid, organized and informed jurist who treated law enforcement, defendants and parties with fairness and respect.
After six (6) years of service, Associate Judge Gerald A. Morris also stepped down at the end of June in order to fully enjoy his retirement. Magistrate court was Morris’ third career retirement after first serving twenty (20) years in the military and then twenty-five (25) years with the Hinesville Police Department.
With the consent of the judges of the superior court, Chief Magistrate Anderson appointed local attorneys Paula K. Hendrix and Michael E. Silverman to fill the vacancies left by Rogers and Morris.
Hendrix has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Florida State University and a law degree from Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University. The majority of Hendrix’s practice has been spent as a staff attorney for the superior court judges in our circuit, as well as the law librarian for the Liberty County Law Library. Hendrix also helped establish the circuit’s first Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and recently served as staff attorney for Judge Nancy Aspinwall in the Liberty County Probate Court.
After retiring from a twenty-five (25) year military career where he served as an officer for twenty (20) of those years, Silverman received a law degree from Savannah Law School. Silverman’s primary practice has been in military (court martial) defense and civil matters with a military nexus.
The appointments of Hendrix and Silverman were effective on July 1, 2021, and their terms are concurrent with the term of Chief Magistrate Anderson. The new associate judges will join Chief Magistrate Anderson, as well as Associate Judges Jimmie R. Bomar and Joelyn W. Pirkle, on the magistrate bench.
Thousands of cases come through magistrate court each year and at least one (1) judge is on call 24 hours a day, six (6) days a week to consider arrest and search warrants for law enforcement. Magistrate court also handles a variety of proceedings, including evictions, civil disputes up to $15,000, violations of county ordinances, warrant and good behavior bond applications, and first appearance and bond hearings.