Chief Judge Robert McBurney, Fulton County Superior Court (Photo: John Disney/ ALM)

The judges of the Fulton County Superior Court have elected Judge Robert McBurney to be the court’s new chief judge, effective Feb. 1.

McBurney takes the helm from former Chief Judge Gail Tusan, who had served in the post since 2014.

McBurney, 49, was appointed to the court in 2012 by Gov. Nathan Deal. Prior to joining the bench, he was senior litigation counsel at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, where he had served since 2002. Before that, he served as a prosecutor with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office as a member of the major felony unit.  

McBurney received his law degree from Harvard School of Law and joined the State Bar of Georgia in 1996. In 2002, he was among the Daily Report’s “On the Rise” honorees, which recognize up-and-coming attorneys under the age of 40.

Among the cases McBurney has overseen as a judge is the long-running dispute among the children of the Rev. Martin Luther King Luther over the possession of the slain civil rights leader’s Bible and Nobel Peace Prize medal. He also is handling the murder case against former Fisher & Phillips partner Claud “Tex” McIver, slated to go to trial in March.

In a statement, McBurney said he was “profoundly honored to have been given this leadership opportunity. I look forward to continuing a collaborative working relationship with my colleagues, our court staff, our justice partners, and county executives. Together, we make the Atlanta Judicial Circuit so very successful at providing effective judicial services to our community. Our Circuit has been—and will continue to be—a leader among trial courts in Georgia.”

The chief judge of the Atlanta Circuit serves for a two-year term and may be reappointed for another term.