Gober has been a State Court judge since 1984 and has filled several roles during that time.
“In my legal career, I’ve been really fortunate and had opportunities to do lots of different things,” he said.
Gober started in private practice in 1975. He first served as a judge in municipal courtrooms in Canton and Woodstock beginning in 1979.
When he was elected State Court judge, the position was part time and covered Cherokee and Forsyth counties. From 1986 until the circuit split in 1997, he also served as the circuit’s appointed Juvenile Court judge.
Gober was elected the State Court bench a total of seven times. He has been chief State Court judge in Cherokee County since 1997.
Later in his time on the bench, beginning in 2008, Gober was the judge for the court’s DUI and drug court.
“I looked around and thought, ‘I’m doing the same thing over and over again, seeing the same people over and over again,’” he said.
Plans for the DUI court began in 2005 before being implemented in 2008.
“That’s been really the most satisfying work I’ve done,” Gober said. While he has concentrated on DUI court over the past few years, he has continued to hear criminal and civil cases.
“It works really well to help people with (substance abuse) problems. You’re dealing with individuals, trying to help them,” he said. “We’ve seen some great results from that.”
Gober added that DUI court has a low recidivism rate and saves money for the circuit.
The Blue Ridge Circuit’s DUI court was the fifth to start in the state.
“It was a different approach. The whole concept of a treatment court only goes back to 1997,” Gober said.
As a State Court judge, Gober presides over misdemeanor criminal cases and most civil cases with the exception of divorces.
“The caseload over the years has gone up and down,” he said. “In the economic downturn, the number of cases filed went down, but suits on debts went up.”
Adjusting to growth and change in the county have been challenging during Gober’s time in office and could continue to be a challenge for future judges.
“You have to realize the community is changing and get ready for it,” he said.
Gober said he has enjoyed working with other elected officials and court officials during his tenure as a judge.
“Every public official I know is dedicated to the public service of their job. The elected officials and everybody I’ve worked with has been good to work with. That’s not the rule in a lot of places,” he said.
Gober will take senior judge status starting in January and fill in as needed on cases around the state. He hopes to spend time on hobbies like gardening and hunting during his retirement.
“I want to get more in tune with the seasons, that rhythm of life. Working, you’re totally removed from what’s going on,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll be outside most of the time.”
Gober and his wife Amelia live in the Clayton community. They have five children and eight grandchildren.
Michelle Homier will take the bench as State Court judge in January.