Bulloch County’s own Lovett Bennett Jr., longtime attorney and municipal judge, will be the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit’s newest superior court judge, having been appointed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
Bennett’s appointment, announced last week, replaces Judge William E. Woodrum Jr., whose retirement will be effective July 31. Woodrum served as superior court judge for over 22 years, having been chief judge of the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit since 2001. The Ogeechee Judicial Circuit covers Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins and Screven counties.
Deal announced appointments to fill several judicial vacancies last week, including this position with the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.
Bennett declined to comment following Deal’s announcement, stating he would prefer to wait for further communication from the governor’s office before commenting on his appointment.
Bennett is the sole practitioner of Lovett Bennett, Jr., Attorney at Law, P.C., and has been since 1990. He also currently serves as municipal court judge for the cities of Brooklet and Register.
From 1987 to 1990, he was a partner with Callaway, Neville & Brinson in Statesboro. Before that, Bennett was an associate with Neville & Neville in Statesboro from 1984 to 1987, and from 1983 to 1984 was an associate with Franson, Brant, Dearing & Moore, P.A., in Jacksonville, Florida.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Georgia Southern University in 1978, a master’s degree in business administration from Georgia State University in 1980, and a Juris Doctorate law degree from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in 1983.
He is a member of the Moot Court Board, Craven Cup Competition, Moot Court Team and Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity.
Honors and awards
The Honorable Lovett Bennett Jr. has been honored and recognized by Who’s Who in America’s Universities & Colleges, with the Constructive Leadership/Unselfish Service Award, and an internship in the 1977 United States Senate Internship with Sen. Sam Nunn.
He served as inter-fraternity council vice-president, 1977–78; student government associate treasurer, 1976–77; a Phi Delta Theta Fraternity member and treasurer, 1976–77; and Rush chair, 1977–78.
He was a Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity member, as well as a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, an honor society in economics.
Bennett is a member of the American Bar Association, the Florida Bar Association, the State Bar of Georgia, the Bulloch County Bar Association (former president and vice president), the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Bar Association, the Middle Judicial Circuit Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Bennett was honored with the 15th annual Justice Robert Benham Award for Community, presented by the State Bar of Georgia in 2014.
He served as public defender in the Emanuel County 8th Judicial District from 1990–2003 and the Candler County 8th Judicial District from 1993–99.
Community recognitions include the 2017 Deen Day Smith Lifetime Achievement Award; the 2010 Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award; and the Hero Award, for successfully ending a hostage standoff involving fellow attorney Michael Hostilo, in 2006, presented by the Statesboro Rotary Club.
Bennett served as Scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America Troop #342 from 2004–17 and assistant Scoutmaster from 1999–2004 and was given the BSA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
He also achieved the Silver Beaver Award, 2013; served as district committee chair, 2012; received the Canoochee District Award of Merit, 2005 and 2006; served as Ogeechee District chairman, 2004–07; and is on the Executive Board Coastal Empire Council, a member since 2008.
A member of the Statesboro Kiwanis Club since 1991, Bennett has served in the following capacities and achieved the following recognitions: Walter Zeller Fellow, 2017; Legion of Honor, 2016; George F. Hixson Fellow, 2012; president, 2007–08; vice-president, 2006–07; vice-president (program chair), 2005–06; club sheriff, 2004–05.
He has also been a member of the Ogeechee Area Hospice board of directors since 2012 and was vice president of the Georgia Police K9 Foundation in 2016 and 2017, where he remains a board member.
Bennett is also currently on the board of directors of the Statesboro Police Officers Foundation and a past member of the Averitt Center for the Arts (2007–09).
Bennett and his wife, Missy, have two sons, William Lovett Bennett and Michael Hampton Bennett. The family resides in Statesboro.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.