Gwinnett judge to trade drug court for council work
1:37 pm, March 7th, 2012
Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge William M. “Billy” Ray II confirmed today that he will step down from his seven-year post presiding over the county’s drug court program.
Ray was careful to explain that he is not retiring from the court to which he was appointed in 2002. Rather, he said he will hand over drug court to fellow Superior Court Judge Thomas N. Davis Jr. in June so that he can devote time to his new post as secretary/treasurer of the state’s Council of Superior Court Judges.
“It takes a lot of time, and it’s a three- to four-year commitment,” Ray said. “I’ll have to frequently be out of the office on Fridays to attend meetings of the Judicial Council and Council of Superior
Ray also said that he hopes to establish a veterans court program in Gwinnett County that may begin operating as early as the end of this year.
The veterans court would be modeled after the existing drug and DUI courts in the county but will be “a little smaller, a little more intimate,” Ray said. The court will coordinate veterans in legal trouble with services such as drug abuse treatment, counseling, job training and housing.
While there is no estimate of how much the veterans court program will cost to create or how many offenders will participate, Ray said the program will start small and should cost the county less than a drug court program because much of the treatment and services will be paid for with existing federal grants.
Davis, who was first appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue in late 2005, is a former prosecutor and Navy veteran.