Valdosta Municipal Court Judge Vernita Lee Bender was recently featured by the Judicial Council of Georgia as one of the most influential African-American judges in Georgia.
Each February during African American History Month, the Judicial Council's Administrative Office of the Courts looks to highlight leading African American judges in Georgia to feature on the Council's website. Judge Bender was featured in a Feb. 9 spotlight.
“We are very proud of Judge Bender for the recognition she has received from her peers,” said City Manager Larry Hanson. “I have always been impressed with the time she gives to our community’s young people and the positive example she sets in her professional and personal life.”
Judge Bender was appointed to serve as Judge of the Municipal Court for the City of Valdosta in August 2006. Her prior legal experience includes serving as a Judicial Clerk, legal counsel to a Housing Authority, Solicitor of the Municipal Court for the City of Valdosta, and an Assistant District Attorney. In addition, she maintained her own law practice prior to taking the bench. She holds an undergraduate degree in English from Albany State University and her law degree from the University of Georgia.
In 2006, Judge Bender instituted a Mock Trial Program in Valdosta, which is utilized as a teaching tool for students and allows them to act as jury in determining the guilt or innocence of the accused. The Council of Municipal Court Judges recognized Judge Bender's work on the Valdosta Mock Trial Program with a Special Recognition Award in 2015.
Judge Bender currently sits on the Boards of Directors for Easter Seals and the Boys and Girls Club. She also previously served as a board member for United Way.
The City of Valdosta applauds Judge Bender for this special recognition of her work and influence in our community and across our state.