Superior Court Judge Cato announces plan to not run for re-election after decades of service

Published 8:42 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2015






South Georgia Judicial Circuit judge A. Wallace Cato announced his plan to not run for re-election in 2016 in a letter to the citizens of the Circuit dated Sept. 17, 2015.

Upon completing his current term, Cato will have served as Superior Judge of the Circuit for 38 years and seven months. He was elected as Superior Court Judge in 1978 in an unopposed election, and has run unopposed ever since.

“It has been a journey all these years,” Cato said. “I’m just humbled that the citizens I have served have allowed me to serve. I appreciate that.”

Prior to his time as the Superior Judge of the Circuit, he spent eight and a half years as the Circuit’s district attorney.

“Being D.A. was most fun,” Cato said. “Being in the bullring and trying cases—it was very much fun to try cases. It was sort of a huge transition from D.A. to Superior Court Judge. I just sit up on the bench and listen, rather than being in the bullring.”

South Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joe Mulholland is coming on his 12th year as D.A. in the circuit, and his 15th year working with Cato. Mulholland said though they had their share of disagreements, his respect for the judge was immense.

“Nobody one this circuit has argued with him more than me over those 15 years,” Mulholland said. “At the same time, I think of him as a father figure. At the end of the day, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Whoever takes his spot next is going to have big shoes to fill. I wish him luck in his future endeavors.”

Cato’s words to whoever is elected to fill his position in 2016 were simple, yet encouraging, and a clear indicator of how much he loved his job.

“I hope they enjoy it as much as I have,” he said.