Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow runs for the judge election for the Court of Appeals of Georgia.
By Anna Kim
Judges should have relevant and recent experiences in many of the type of cases that appear before the court. Good judges are ones who have strong values of honesty, integrity, and high character. The pressure to succumb to political or public opinions can present challenges for a judge who is elected to office, but regardless, judiciary must remain unaffected and unwavering as a pillar in three branches of government. That’s why Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow, a senior assistant district attorney in DeKalb County, emerges as a convincing candidate for the judge election for Court of Appeals of Georgia because Georgia needs judges who are unafraid to make unpopular decisions and to stand against partisan politics if it means following the law and doing what is right. It is said that her twelve years of combined experience and leadership service are best suited for the bench.
Debrow prosecutes elder abuse, financial exploitation, and fraud cases. Though she graduated high school in Gwinnett County, she was born in Seoul, South Korea, while her father was stationed in the U.S. Army. Her father met and married her mother in Korea, and they established their home in the Atlanta area when they moved to the U.S. Debrow attended college in Washington, D.C. and obtained her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, where she also now serves as an adjunct law professor---one of her most rewarding professional experiences.
Her mother is a Korean, originally from ChunCheon in South Korea. With the exception of one aunt and her family, her Korean family resides here in the U.S. and Debrow owes her success and who she is today to them, especially her grandmother.
As if to prove the point, she recently received the Distinguished Service Award from the Atlanta Bar Association; was selected as one who is “On the Rise” by the Fulton Daily Report; graduated as a member of Leadership Georgia Class of 2017; graduated as a member of LEAD Atlanta Class of 2016; and graduated from the Leadership Academy of the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia in 2015.
As Debrow recently announced her bid for the bench on the Court of Appeals, Georgia, the Korean community has scrambled to muster their collective power to support Debrow, whose judicial perspectives crystallizes during the interview with K-Herald, the most influential Korean-English newspaper in Georgia, Alabama, and South Korea.
Q: What motivated you to run for the judge election for the Court of Appeals of Georgia? “I have always wanted to be in public service. Given that my father was in the military and my mother has always been active with civic organizations, public and community service have always been a way of life for me. When I learned that a seat would soon be open on the Court of Appeals, I decided to pursue this opportunity so that I can use my experience as a trial attorney and community leader in serving others on a statewide level.”
Q: Could you advise your campaign platform/pledges? “A judicial campaign in Georgia is neither a Republican nor Democratic position; it is one that is non-partisan. Georgia requires its judges to be impartial, unbiased, and fair. If elected as a judge, I promise to leave politics and personal opinons outside the courtroom, and to make decisions that are best for the State and its residents, not just any one party. I am not yet aware of the qualifying date to register as a candidate for the race; it is anticpiated to be in March 2020.”
Q: What position are you aiming for? “I have declared to run for the seat currently occupied by Judge Sara Doyle. Although she is currently a candidate for an open seat on the Supreme Court of Georgia, she will remain in her seat until the end of her term. Therefore, my election will be for an open seat. Though the general election to fill this seat will be on May 19, 2020, the new term will not begin until January 1, 2021.”
Q: If you are elected as a judge for the Court of Appeals of Georgia, what errors/factors would you like to rectify regarding the court system or procedure? “The Georgia Court of Appeals is cited to be one of the busiest courts in the country due to its “two term rule.” That means that if cases are not decided in two terms of court, they are affirmed by operation of Georgia constitutional law. As a judge having experience in both criminal and civil appellate areas of practice, I would be efficient in deciding cases assigned to me, and I would contribute, in a positive way, to the efficiency and accuracy by which the court would hear and decide cases. Additionally, as a prosecutor and trial attorney, my service on the court would be beneficial for my colleagues on the bench, thus allowing me to provide a unique and valuable perspective for the court. I also believe that, in addition to experienced and fair judges, Georgians want diverse judges serving on the court. The seat for which I am running is currently being held by one of six women on a court of fifteen judges; of those fifteen, only one is Asian American and two are African American.”
Q: Please advise any community volunteer works that you have been involved in. “Among many other community service positions I have held, I have recently served as: (1) President-Elect of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, (2) Chair of the Atlanta Bar Association’s Judicial Tenure and Selection Committee, (3) Secretary and board member of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and (4) President of the Board of Directors for ChildrenConnect: A Newnan Children Museum.”
Q: Is there any other message that you would like to impart to your Korean-American supporters? “Georgia’s justice system is only as good as the lawyers and judges who serve in our courts. The Court of Appeals is a race that is highly important, because it has an impact on not just a few people, but everyone in the state. When there is an unfavorable outcome in any case, in any trial court, in any county throughout Georgia, nearly eighty-five perfect of those cases are appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals. Having the right judges on the court will ensure that everyone is treated fairly, that the laws are interpreted justly, and that Georgians are fully represented.”
Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow runs for the judge election for Court of Appeals of Georgia.
As Debrow recently announced her bid for the bench on the Court of Appeals, Georgia, the Korean community has scrambled to muster their collective power to support Debrow.