Interview: Judge Lisa Godbey Wood

April 12, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---There's a new federal judge on the bench in Augusta. I had the chance to talk with Lisa Godbey Wood. It's a rare interview with a sitting federal judge, and one you'll see only on 12.

United States District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood is the new face of the federal court system in Augusta.

"I am so impressed with Augusta," she said.

Judge Wood has been on the job in Augusta's federal court building for about a month. She was a federal prosecutor before that. And when she took that job, she was a trailblazer.

And she is that even more so now that she's on the bench.

Richard Rogers: You're the only woman on the bench here in Augusta's federal courthouse. Even fewer in the federal court system. Do we need more women judges?

Judge Wood: I guess what I look at more than being a man or woman is are you fair and diligent. Fairness and diligence is a good measure of a judge, regardless of whether that person is a man or woman.

And it's a job she says she's been preparing for her whole legal life.

LGW: I've seen the federal court from just about every angle. I started as a law clerk, civil attorney, criminal defense attorney, prosecutor and now a judge.

She also survived a long confirmation process that includes getting green lights from the American Bar Association, the FBI, the US Senate.

LGW: So if you get through that gauntlet and get confirmed, then it is a pleasant surprise.

RR: You come to the bench in the age of technology. Even the US Senate allows cameras. What do you think of cameras in the federal courtroom?

LGW: Every issue, you have to start with the question: does this enhance the pursuit of justice? I see little evidence that cameras will enhance the pursuit of justice. Don't look for that anytime soon.


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