N. Ga. judge faces public reprimand for cussing out cops
A North Georgia judge will receive a public reprimand next week, apparently for verbally abusing and threatening several GBI agents.
Superior Court Judge Kristina Cook Graham faces the music at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Chattooga County Courthouse, the Judicial Qualifications Commission announced today. She presides in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, where the slogan is “Wisdom, Justice and Moderation.”
The JQC, which investigates charges of judicial misconduct, typically doesn’t elaborate on its disciplinary actions. But several news organizations reported some of the details last summer when they obtained a complaint filed against her by the GBI.
Graham chewed out agents in several obscenity-laced rants and accused them of lying after she heard that her name had come up in a drug investigation, according to a complaint by GBI director Vernon Keenan. As Chattanooga television station WTVC reported last summer, Keenan subsequently complained to the JQC:
“She has impugned the integrity of a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agent by questioning his veracity in open court and in her chambers, as well as by calling him into her chambers to demean him and subject him to profane language. She has also engaged in similar conduct towards other law enforcement officers in her Circuit. As the Director of the GBI, I am compelled to bring this matter to your attention.”
Graham, the daughter of legendary criminal defense attorney Bobby Lee Cook, allegedly believed that the agents had brought up her name when interviewing drug informants.
In one February 2009 meeting, The Atlanta journal-Constitution reported, Graham chewed out agent Del Thomasson in front of his boss:
During the meeting, the judge told Thomasson’s supervisor that Thomasson is “playing a very dangerous game,” according to a GBI transcript.
The supervisor asked whether the judge was threatening the agent and in what regard she considered the agent, a highly regarded veteran, to be dishonest.
The judge did not elaborate.
“I didn’t threaten,” she said, according to the tape. “You can get out now. Get out of my office. Get out of my office. Del, don’t you ever speak to me again on the street. Don’t you ever speak to me or any member of my family. Now get out of here! Get out of here!”