written by Marvella Nesbitt
Judge Ralph Bailey, Jr. is originally from Bowling Green, Kentucky. In December of 2021, he became the first African American male to serve full-time on the Henry County State Court bench. He started his legal career by serving on active military duty in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps as a JAG Officer from 2002 to 2006. Upon completion of his active military service, he continued serving in the military by joining the U.S. Army Reserves, where he currently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and works as a Regional Defense Counsel.
Upon completing his active military service, Judge Bailey later served as an Assistant District Attorney in Fulton and Henry counties and as a Magistrate Judge in Henry County. He also has worked as an attorney with the Social Security Administration, in-house counsel for Allstate Insurance Company, and in private practice prior to his judicial appointment. Additionally, Judge Bailey worked as an adjunct professor at Mercer University and St. Leo University.
Judge Bailey has a Bachelor of Science degree in Police Administration from the University of Louisville, a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Mercer University School of Business.
In addition to his daily state court responsibilities, Judge Bailey presides over the Henry County Domestic Violence Court and serves as a co-judge for the Henry County Veterans Treatment Court. Judge Bailey also serves in the community as a board member for A Friend’s House (home for youth) and McIntosh Trail (mental health/disability centers) and is a member of the following organizations: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Rho Sigma Lambda Chapter; American Legion, Post 516; Leadership Henry Class of 2023; Henry County Bar Association and the Lawyer’s Club of Atlanta.
Although Judge Bailey has an extensive legal career and a myriad of esteemed achievements, he never thought his military career would lead him into the legal field. He admits, “If someone would have told me I was going to be a lawyer or a judge, I would have [been in disbelief]. I just kept treating people with dignity and respect. I kept striving and doing the best I could.”
His experience working simultaneously as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, gave him a collection of skills and abilities that prepared him to be a fair-minded judge. He states, “It really helped me because I [could] see both sides of the table.” When he is in the courtroom, all can rest assured he upholds the belief that “justice is blind”. “I try to make sure [people] are treated fairly, regardless of what type of background they come from or who they are.”
The Honorable Judge Bailey feels a strong benevolence towards the county’s veterans. As the co-judge for the Veterans Treatment Court, he has a deep understanding and passion for the social and legal issues affecting vets. He will be this year’s keynote speaker at Henry County’s Veterans Day Ceremony on Saturday, November 11th. Judge Bailey will be thanking vets for their sacrifices for serving our country, and his speech will highlight the true meaning of service and its everlasting benefits. He reveals, “My speech will cover topics such as selflessness, sacrifice, valor, readiness, competence, and the everlasting soul.”
Although the State Court Judge has a remarkably busy schedule, he tries to keep his work-life balanced. He admits, “You can’t be all work and no play.” In his leisure time, he enjoys golfing, playing fantasy football, and spending time with his wife of 27 years and two adult daughters.
Lastly, Judge Bailey would like to advise young African American males to always be open to the vast possibilities that await and aim to be distinguished leaders. He remarks, “Work hard, and strive to be the president or the head of the group, continue to grind.” These are encouraging words from a man who has made an indelible mark upon his community and is an inspiration to all.
You can follow Judge Bailey on Facebook.
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