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Judge lobbied legislator who was defendant in his court


An interesting sidebar to last week’s legal malpractice trial of state Rep. Randal Mangham:

The judge who gave Mangham a new trial in 2008 had to drop the case because he’d been lobbying the legislator to fund a program in his court.

A DeKalb County State Court jury on May 6 awarded $625,000 in damages to a former client of Mangham’s who claimed he bungled her personal injury lawsuit.

In a 2005 trial of the same case, Mangham was ordered to pay $293,000 in damages. But State Court Judge Johnny Panos, ruling one of Mangham’s witnesses should have been allowed to testify as an expert, granted him a new trial in March 2008.

A week later, Mangham said, Panos called him to push for state funding for Project Achieve, a program that encourages high school dropouts appearing in his court to get their GED.

Several days after that, Panos recused himself from the case on a motion from Mangham.

In an interview this week, Panos said he called all the DeKalb County legislators during the 2007 session, not just Mangham, to drum up support for Project Achieve.

“That’s what I understood you gotta do” to get legislation passed, he said.

Campaign records show the judge also made $5,450 in campaign contributions to DeKalb legislators from 2006 to 2008.

Once Mangham raised the issue of a possible conflict in court last year, Panos said he decided “I probably had too much of a financial interest … and it probably would be wise to leave the case.”

House Bill 1316 would have imposed a $3 fee in DeKalb State Court civil cases to raise nearly $200,000 a year for Project Achieve. A three-member panel – Panos and two other court officials – would have overseen the fund.

DeKalb’s six other State Court judges objected to Panos’ characterizations of the program and urged legislators to table the bill.

In a March 2008 letter, the judges said they’d seen no proof that Panos’ program was more effective than other GED programs. They also objected to imposing another fee on defendants who are in court because they can’t pay their debts.

Panos said he may try again for state funding for Project Achieve. Until then, it’s still a pilot project running on $50,000 a year to pay teachers who conduct evening classes.

The program has enrolled about 100 people, of which 70 to 75 percent have gone on to get their GEDs, Panos said. Many participants who complete their classwork are eligible to have the criminal charges dismissed and arrests expunged.

Mainstream GED prep classes, he said, won’t work for the misdemeanor defendants who appear before him.

“They’re not necessarily bad people. They just don’t know how to deal with life,” he said. “My program is different because it provides more structure and vigilance as to what the students are doing.”





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One Response to “Judge lobbied legislator who was defendant in his court”

  1. DHM says:


    Despite the efforts of some members of Congress, do the Department of Defense (DOD) U.S. Senate proven “designed to harm” experiments continue?[8] The 1950 U.S. Supreme Court FERES Doctrine determined that the U.S. Government can not be held accountable for injuries incident to U.S. Military Service.[1] The 1987 U.S. Supreme Court STANLEY [3] determined that FERES also protects the government from DOD “experiments that were designed to harm” [8] subjects. In 2006 the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) was signed into law.[10] In 2009, under its “NATIONAL SECURITY MISSIONS”, now also continued on civilians are these DOD on Veterans lessons learned?

    In 2009 the U.S. Congress still has not corrected the U.S. Senate’s 1994 reported 50 years of a DOD “experiments that were designed to harm” policy. This is their many experiments conducted on “hundreds of thousands” of U.S. Military personnel.[8] The “Veterans Right to Know Act” to establish the Veterans’ Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress.[9] It never became law.

    “IT WAS NECESSARY “TO CONCEAL THESE ACTIVITIES FROM THE AMERICAN PUBLIC IN GENERAL,” BECAUSE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE OF THE” UNETHICAL AND ILLICIT ACTIVITIES WOULD HAVE SERIOUS REPERCUSSIONS IN POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC CIRCLES AND WOULD BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ITS MISSION.” Footnote 4, U.S. Supreme Court 1987 STANLEY military experiments case, Page 688.[3] This case confirms their FERES Doctrine [1] decision that correction is through the U.S. Congress. After STANLEY Congress passed the 1988 Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (VJRA). Established was the Legislative, Article I severely restricted, Veteran’s Court with Congress’s “The court may not review the schedule of ratings for disabilities or the policies underlying the schedule.”, i.e., the needed for treatment “designed to harm” evidence. The Veterans Court Chief Judge’s no teeth statement..[7] Given to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the Judicial Branch’s final authority on “the policies underlying the schedule” questions of law; 511(a)![5] These experiments were performed under the secrecy cover of our past wars. They were in direct disobedience of the DOD Secretary’s 1953 TOP SECRET order. This order was unclassified twenty two (22) years later.[2] 1953 and since known by the Secretary’s of all Services, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the DOD Research and Development (R&D) Board and the U.S. Congress.

    Each deliberate “to harm” project completes the R&D process. Prior R&D is reviewed. The resulting Scope of Work defines what each experiment is “designed” to accomplish. The how, where, when and who is identified. The conducted RESEARCHED cause and effects are closely followed and recorded. From the results are DEVELOPED safe production, use, treatment and protection.

    The needed for treatment, experiment revealing evidence is: 1. Not in a subject’s Medical History, so that they never the wiser become. And 2. The resulting alerting injuries are not in the VA “schedule…for disabilities”! There is no, “Veterans Right to Know…”. After honorable service Congress still has not given back to veterans those rights that convicted rapists and murderers keep![6]



    [1] 1950 – Feres v. United States , 340 U.S. 135, 146 (1950).

    [2] 1953 – DOD Secretary’s 26 February 1953 NO non-consensual, human experiment’s Memo pages 343-345. George J. Annas and Michael A. Grodin, “The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code; Human Rights in Human Experimentation” (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). In REFERENCE [8] as NOTES 72, 168 & 169.

    [3] 1987 – U.S. SUPREME COURT, JUNE 25, 1987, U.S. V. STANLEY , 107 S. CT. 3054 (VOLUME 483 U.S. , SECTION 669, PAGES 699 TO 710). In REFERENCE [8] cited in NOTE 169.

    [4] 1988 – Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (VJRA), Pub. L. No. 100-687, Div. A, 102 Stat. 4105 (8 December 1988)

    [5] “United States Code (USC) Title 38, 511. Decisions of the Secretary; finality.”—-000-.html

    [6] 1994 – U.S. State Dept., ” U.S. Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights July 1994, Article 7″.

    [7] 1994 – Chief Judge and colleague statements, Court of Veterans Appeals, Annual Judicial Conference, Fort Meyer, VA., 17 & 18 October 1994.

    [8] 1994 – December 8, 1994 REPORT 103-97 “Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans’ Health? Lessons Spanning Half a Century.” Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 103rd Congress 2nd Session. With NOTES 1 to 170.

    [9] 2005 & 2006 – “Veterans Right to Know Act” to establish the Veterans’ Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress.

    [10] 2006 – Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Bill S. 3678 2006. Signed into law 16 December 2006.