About the only time Judge Aaron Cohn left the familiar confines of his native Georgia and his hometown of Columbus, was to fight with General George Patton’s 3rd Cavalry during major campaigns in Europe during the Second World War.
Judge Cohn, it seems, likes things the way they are, enjoys his Georgia, his Columbus and, since 1965, his bench on the juvenile court in that west Georgia city up against the Chattahoochee River.
This week Judge Cohn has done something surprising. He is stepping down, in itself not remarkable occurrence, until you understand that he is the nation’s longest serving juvenile court judge, and that he does so at the age of 95.
He will, he said, retire at the end of September.
On Monday, he announced his decision to a clutch of people assemble in his courtroom.
As reported by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Judge Cohn said, “You’ve got to love people. You’ve got to care about people. When they come into the courtroom you’ve got to let them know, ‘I care about you.’”
Judge Cohn is Georgia, through and through. He graduated from Columbus High School and went on to finish law school at the University of Georgia. In between, he found time to play tennis for the University of Georgia.
He may have been a Georgia boy from a smaller community in the Deep South, but he had an impact in some far-away places. He was recognized in the late 1970s for his service in Luxemburg during the War. And in 1982, was honored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Commission for his role in liberating the concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria in 1945.
Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters said he has known Judge Cohn for more than 30 years. During that time, he says, he found him to be respectful to everyone in the court room, professional and someone who always had the best interest of the kids in mind.
“He could have gone anywhere,” said Judge Peters. “He certainly could have made a lot more money. But he was totally devoted to the juvenile court and to the kids.”
Cohn, Judge Peters said, never took much time off of work. Now, he says, at age 95, maybe he’ll have more time to work on his tennis game.