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Cobb County Judge Mary Staley Clark announces retirement


Cobb County Judge Mary Staley Clark has announced her retirement from the bench. A news release on her retirement indicated that the judge will bring her time on the bench to a close on May 1, 2022.

Clark was first elected to the Superior Court in 1992 and served as Chief Judge from 2005 to 2007. In 2013, Clark helped create Cobb’s Mental Health Court. She is the presiding judge over Cobb’s Drug Treatment Court. Before joining Superior Court, Clark was elected to Magistrate Court in 1982. She would later go to Division I of State Court in 1984. 

Clark earned her Juris Doctor at the University of Georgia and went to work as a criminal prosecutor under District Attorney Thomas Charron.

“It will take time to adjust to not being on the bench every day. Of course, I’ll continue to help as a senior judge, but I am looking forward to getting married this spring and being able to spend more time with my parents and family,” Judge Staley Clark said.

Senior Judge Stephen Schuster saluted Clark and described her as “one of the original women to break through the glass ceiling and achieve a Superior Court Judgeship.”

Said Schuster, “Judge Staley Clark realized there was a better way to treat those with illness than incarceration. She saved many lives and returned many in our population to be good citizens.”

Chief Judge Rob Leonard said Judge Staley Clark is irreplaceable. “As Chief Judge, I’ve relied upon her wisdom and depth of experience on many occasions. She will certainly be missed by everyone.”

When she retires, Clark will join her fiancé and soon-to-be-husband, Chuck Perry, at his ranch and vineyard in Rockmart. 

Governor Brian Kemp will get to appoint a successor to serve the remainder of Judge Staley Clark’s term, which runs through 2024. With qualifying occurring last week, many political watchers in the South Cobb community wonder why Clark waited until after that period to announce her retirement instead of allowing others to run for the open seat and letting the voters determine who should be the next judge. 


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