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.
A whistleblower who accused state ethics lawyers of misconduct was herself fired over allegations of fraud and dishonesty. Jennifer L. Ward, budget and HR administrator for the State Ethics Commission, was dismissed in November for allegedly failing to drop an ex-employee from the payroll and stating that she fabricated salary figures to help her old boss get a pay raise. Ward denies wrongdoing and claims her new boss canned her for complaining to others about his private law practice.
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.
Georgia law may prohibit ex-House Speaker Glenn Richardson‘s recent transfer of leftover campaign cash to a political fund under his control. On Dec. 31, a day before Richardson’s resignation took effect, he cleaned out his re-election campaign’s bank account with the transfer of $219,915 to the MMV Alliance Fund. One potential problem: MMV does not appear to be among the organizations that may legally accept unused campaign contributions.