Justice P. Harris Hines Supreme Court Memorial


On March 8, 2019, the Committee appointed by the Supreme Court of Georgia to prepare an appropriate memorial to the life, character, and service of the Honorable P. Harris Hines, published its report.

Along with the Committee Report, the Supreme Court of Georgia published the sincere comments of many of Justice Hines’ family and friends.

Among the commentators was Cauthorn Nohr & Owen’s founding partner and longtime friend of Justice Hines, T.E. Cauthorn. T.E. wrote:

“The day arrived that many of us must face from time to time: a dear friend had died in an automobile collision. But this dear friend had just retired weeks before. Just retired, but with no intention of staying still. When Harris Hines and his wife Helen first came into my life, they were youngsters running a countywide campaign for Harris’s election to a full four-year term on the State Court of Cobb County. Cobb was much much smaller in population in those years, but it was big enough. Helen and Harris worked so hard in that campaign that they truly expected to get all of the votes, and almost did. No one ever forgot that maximum effort, and Harris never again had political opposition in numerous countywide and statewide political campaigns. Maybe it was a result of the maximum effort, but I prefer to believe it was because Harris Hines was a consensus builder and was admired for bringing people together. By the time Harris had been a State Court Judge for a little over four years, I became his colleague on the Cobb State Court bench. Shortly thereafter, Harris became my Chief Judge on that Court. He helped move that Court forward as a public service agent and always reminded us judges that we could accomplish so much more together than we could as single elected officials. After a successful career as a State Court Judge, Harris moved to the Superior Court of Cobb County. A couple of years later, I was once again his colleague. And although he was no longer my chief judge, I still went to him for advice. For example, we went through a period of intense activity with a large number of murder cases where the death penalty was sought. Judge Hines agreed with Judge George H. Kreeger and me to instantly make himself available if a critical legal question arose during one of those jury trials. Sure enough, the moment of need arrived and he met with us to discuss the critical legal issue. I don’t remember the name of the case or the issue involved or the ruling that came out of it, but his collegiality contributed enormously to a correct ruling and my sense of confidence in the correctness of the ruling. When I returned to the private practice of law in 1991, Judge Hines continued to provide unique leadership as a trial judge. He emphasized over and over that adversarial did not mean rude or mean-spirited. His good spirit infused his courtroom. When the time arrived to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Governor called upon Judge Hines, and he served on the Georgia Supreme Court of Georgia with the same distinctive collegiality and good humor, no matter the gravity of the issues presented. When difficult administrative patches were encountered by the Court, he helped his colleagues reach a consensus. When difficult cases and legal issues were encountered by the Court, he helped his colleagues reach a consensus. The State of Georgia is a better place because of the service of Justice Hines. He is missed by his colleagues, the lawyers who argued appeals and tried cases, and most of all by his friends and his beloved family. “

Among the commentators were Justice Hines’ wife, children, and grandchildren along with Former Governor Deal, Former President Carter, Former Governor Barnes, US Senator Isakson, and many others.

To read the full Memorial, click here.

T. E. Cauthorn