A coastal Georgia judge whose actions drew national attention now must defend herself against formal charges that she denied a suicidal defendant and others the right to due process and ignored conflicts of interest with her family members. Judge Amanda Williams’ conduct amounted to “tyrannical partiality,” the Judicial Qualifications Commission said today.
They’re opening a new can of judges in the Georgia mountains, where three jurists have quit in four months. One of the new judges is House Speaker David Ralston’s law partner. Another will replace Mountain Circuit Superior Court Judge James Cornwell, who stepped down Friday. The governor reported Cornwell’s resignation to the state agency that looks into charges of judicial misconduct.
A middle Georgia judge belittled and argued with defendants, misstated points of law and improperly ordered jailers not to shorten inmates’ sentences for good behavior, witnesses told a judicial oversight panel in Atlanta today. Twiggs County Probate Judge Kenneth Fowler and his lawyer blamed much of the alleged misconduct on his lack of legal training. “When I first took office, I was just as lost as I could be,” Fowler testified.