ATLANTA -- Minutes after Wade Padgett placed his hand on a bible Wednesday and was sworn in as the Augusta Judicial Circuit's news Superior Court judge, he wiped tears from his eyes.
"OK, I'm gonna stop now," Padgett joked, clasping the sides of the podium where he gave his first address as a Superior Court judge at the Capitol. His emotions overcame him as he praised his family for contributing to his success.
"Without their support ... I quite literally would not be here," he said.
Padgett, who was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue in September to replace retiring Judge Duncan Wheale, will join the Court to preside over civil, criminal and domestic cases in Columbia, Burke and Richmond counties.
"It truly is wonderful to get the opportunity to do what you want to do," he said. "I've always wanted to be a judge."
The swearing in ceremony was a family affair. Friends and relatives of the 43-year-old former Chief Magistrate overflowed from the room.
"He's probably the most just man I know," said Gary Pringle of Augusta, a friend who met Padgett through his work with parents and youth at their church. "It's unbelievable. I'm sure he's ecstatic."
Among Padgett's supporters was Rep. Lee Anderson, R-Appling..
"I think it's awesome," Anderson said. "He's a first-class gentleman. He'll help the community any way he can."