ATLANTA (WRBL) — Columbus attorney John Martin became the seventh Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Superior Court judge Thursday morning during a swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol.

Gov. Brian Kemp, who appointed Martin last month, administered the oath in front of a small group of family, friends, lawyers, and lawmakers.

“Being a Superior Court judge was never a career goal of mine,” Martin said. “But when I saw lifelong friend Judge Ben Land quickly and seamlessly transition from private practice to being a respected and efficient Superior Court judge, he became someone I wanted to emulate.”

During that ceremony at the Capitol, John’s son, John Jr., held the family Bible and his wife Melissa and daughter Kate looked on. 

It was a family affair in Governor Brian Kemp’s office. His aunt Jeannie Puckett, and her husband Medal of Honor recipient Col. Ralph Puckett were there. 

Jeannie remembered her late brother, John’s father, Frank Martin. 

“This is a big day for our family,” Jeannie Puckett said. “And I think, Butch, as I called him, would be very pleased and proud of John. And I wish he were here to see this big event for John.” 

Frank Martin was a former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, and mayor. John remembered him shortly after taking the oath. 

John practiced the first 17 years of his 27-year career with his father. 

“There was no bigger role model in my legal career or my understanding of other people than my father, Frank. K. Martin,” John Martin said. “My father showed me what it meant to have a strong work ethic in the law, and more importantly how to understand and relate to people from all walks of life long before it was ever popular to do so.” 

And this is why it’s important. 

“To this day, I still have people, many of whom I have no idea who they are, come up to me and say what kind of impact he had on their lives,” John Martin said. “These encounters are a constant reminder of how to treat other people, especially those with whom we have little in common.” 

The 54-year-old Martin has been a member of the Georgia Bar for 27 years. Martin has been a sole practitioner since his father’s death.

Martin is a graduate of the University of Georgia and earned his law degree at Mississippi College.

Martin replaces Judge William C. Rumer who retired in September. Martin will assume his new role immediately.

Superior Court judge Ben Land was appointed to the State Court of Appeals and State Court judge Ben Richardson was tab to replace Land. Richardson and Land will assume their new duties in July.

Martin’s appointment is welcome news to Chief Superior Court Judge Gil McBride. 

“Most of us have known John Martin for a number of years and think highly of him, certainly,” McBride said. “And we are just glad to have him on board. But we have managed. Other judges have chipped in. We will continue to chip in as we need to help out. But it’s good to have those cases assigned to a judge.”