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.
June 28, 2010 — A mid-Georgia judge — who admitted to being “as lost as I could be” when he took office — was removed from the bench today by the Georgia Supreme Court. Twiggs County Probate Judge Kenneth Fowler’s conduct, the high court wrote, “shows that he is simply unwilling to live up to his legal and ethical responsibilities.”
Twiggs County Probate Judge Kenneth Fowler was suspended with pay this morning by the Georgia Supreme Court. A state oversight panel pushed for Fowler’s removal last month after he removed two probation officers from his courtroom. Fowler said the two men, who had testified about his courtroom behavior, seemed to have a “vendetta” against him. Overseers argued he was trying to intimidate the men in case they were required to testify in any future proceedings regarding his status as a judge.
Chris Mathis, the elected chief magistrate of Floyd County, today queued up in the lengthening line of Georgia judges who have resigned while under investigation for misconduct. He reportedly stepped down after meeting with Richard Hyde, investigator for the state Judicial Qualifications Commission.
A North Georgia judge today acknowledged trying to intimidate prosecutors who were investigating another judge in her circuit for alleged election fraud. Lookout Mountain Superior Court Judge Kristina Cook Connelly Graham received a public reprimand in court today for two unrelated incidents in 2008 and 2009. The reprimand said Graham had admitted her actions.
A North Georgia judge faces 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.”
What may be Georgia’s busiest ethics agency is also its smallest. In July, it may get even smaller. With the tiniest of budgets, the Judicial Qualifications Commission makes ends meet by not paying its investigator and lawyers. Now, the Georgia House proposes whacking the JQC’s budget by more than one-third to just $176,000. Legislative leaders say it’s about getting their money’s worth from the commission’s part-time director. And, they say, it’s definitely not about the agency’s charges against a judge from House Speaker David Ralston’s hometown.
And the beat goes on … Paschal English, the chief Superior Court judge of the Griffin Judicial Circuit, resigned Friday as questions swirled about his handling of complaints against another judge in his circuit.
A middle Georgia judge retaliated against two witnesses who testified in January about his courtroom conduct, state investigators say. Those actions may cost Twiggs Probate Judge Kenneth Fowler his paycheck.
Griffin Circuit Superior Court Judge Johnnie L. Caldwell Jr. agreed he would never be a judge again when he resigned this week. That generally happens when the state has launched an investigation of the judge’s conduct. DA Scott Ballard acknowledged that a state investigator met with him Tuesday.
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.