THOMASVILLE — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is confident James Linder "Jim" Prine II is the right man for a Southern Judicial Circuit judgeship.
Kemp announced his decision Thursday to appoint Prine to the judgeship previously held by Harry Jay Altman, who retired effective Dec. 31.
"Given Jim's extensive background with the Southern Judicial Circuit, I am confident he is the right man for this job," Kemp said. "As a judge, he will prioritize the business of the court and uphold justice, fairness and proper decorum."
On Friday, Prine said his primary role as a Superior Court judge will be to ensure fairness to all parties at every stage of proceedings.
Ray Auman, senior district attorney in the Thomas County district attorney's office, said Kemp made an excellent choice in the appointment of Prine, with whom he worked for 18 years.
"While Jim will be sorely missed in the Thomas County district attorney's office, he will make an outstanding judge for our circuit," Auman said. "He has extensive courtroom experience, is very knowledgeable of the Georgia Evidence Code and is level-headed and fair. More importantly, he has a true heart for service."
A Thomasville native, Prine's parents are Marty Prine, a retired school teacher, and Jim Prine, a retired Georgia State Patrol major.
Prine said his commitment to service "has a lot to do with the environment I was raised in."
He strives for a better community, describing Thomas County as "the best place in Georgia, I believe."
Prine, a Thomasville resident, considers it his obligation to help the less fortunate if he can.
He and his wife, Madeleine, have two daughters, Lilly, 6, and Emme, 4, and are expecting their third child in February.
Prine, 46, a member of First United Methodist Church, earned a bachelor's degree at Georgia Southern University and a law degree at the Georgia State University College of Law. Since 2002, he has served as senior assistant district attorney of the Southern Judicial Court.
He is active in Thomasville Kiwanis Club and a member of the South Georgia Intelligence Network law enforcement group and the Thomas County Bar Association. Prine earned the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller Recognition for Outstanding Record in the Prosecution of Offenders in 2006, and was named the Georgia State Arson Control Board Prosecutor of the Year in 2014.
“I wish Jim all the success with this new judgeship appointment and congratulate him on his career accomplishment," said Thomasville Police Chief Troy Rich.
Southern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Brad Shealy, who has worked with Prine for more than 17 years, said Prine will bring vast experience and knowledge to the bench.
"I have worked closely with Jim on several cases with the most recent being the Jeffery Alan Peacock murder case in Colquitt County," Shealy said. "In doing so, I have found him to be hard-working and conscientious. As a prosecutor, he has always been watchful of victims and their rights, and he has always been able to combine justice with fairness to come to an equitable outcome in all of his cases. While I hate to see him leave my Thomasville office, I know that as a Superior Court judge he will be an asset to all the citizens of our circuit."
Prine has tried about 30 cases, including four murder trials, and four other murder trials where he was assistant prosecutor.
His experience in the district attorney's office shows some people deserve a second chance, and most grasp the opportunity.
"On the other hand, you have those who intentionally hurt people," Prine said.
Prine expressed gratitude for Altman's service and for the gubernatorial appointment.
A date for a swearing-in ceremony had not been set Friday.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820