After 31 Years, Judge Mickle Steps Down From Atlanta Bench
1:04 pm, June 19th, 2013
After eight terms on the Atlanta Municipal Court, Judge Andrew Mickle steps down today, ending a 31-year run that began with his appointment to the bench by Mayor Maynard Jackson in 1982.
“I’ve served under five different mayors in three different courthouses,” said the 63-year-old Mickle, who is to be feted next month at Atlanta City Hall at an event hosted by Jackson’s successor, Andrew Young.
But Mickle and his famous handlebar mustache won’t be entirely absent from the courthouse in the future, as he plans to take senior status and sit in for other judges occasionally.
Born in Manhattan’s lower east side, Mickle grew up in Watertown, N.Y., the son of Ukrainian immigrants who fled Stalin’s regime after World War II. “My grandfather’s name was Michailitschenko,” said Mickle, “It’s the old story: They came though Ellis Island, and the customs guy says, ‘Well, you’re Mickle now.’ ”
“I grew up speaking Russian before I spoke English,” said Mickle. “My parents spoke Ukrainian at home, but they taught me Russian because they thought it was more useful. In first grade, my teacher sent a note home saying, ‘Your kid keeps babbling Russian, teach him English.’ My mother … sent a note back: ‘That’s your job.’”
Upon graduating from Harvard with a degree in Slavic languages and literature, Mickle moved south and earned his law degree at Emory University School of Law in 1976.
“I started out with [former State Senator] Leroy Johnson in the West End,” said Mickle, who went on to work with Marvin Arrington before joining Atlanta’s public defender office in 1978; he became the chief PD in 1981.
Mickle also serves as an adjunct professor of law at Georgia State University, taught sociology at Morehouse College from 1996 to 2002 and was a charter member of the Georgia Municipal Courts Training Council.