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Supreme Court dumps ‘lost’ Twiggs probate judge


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 had been suspended with pay May 14 while awaiting the high court’s decision. The state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission had recommended his ouster for abusive behavior, financial misconduct and disregard for legal standards in court.

The high court’s order, released this morning, found:

Judge Fowler’s misconduct, both before and after the hearing on the formal charges against him, shows that he is simply unwilling to live up to his legal and ethical responsibilities as a judge. His ignorance of the law is inexcusable, and his abuse of the judicial office unacceptable. …

We cannot expect that members of the public will respect the law and remain confident in our judiciary while judges who do not respect and follow the law themselves remain on the bench.

After a two-day hearing in January, the JQC found that Fowler:

  • Told criminal defendants that they, not prosecutors, had the burden of proving their case;
  • Allowed defendants to “buy out” community-service sentences by paying money into a fund under Fowler’s control;
  • Abused and insulted parties in his courtroom;
  • Disposed of criminal charges beyond his authority and jurisdiction; and
  • Ordered the sheriff not to give inmates credit for “good time” in determining when they would be released.

Fowler later pressured a private company to reassign two probation officers who had testified against him at the JQC hearing. He threatened to replace the company if it refused, according to testimony.

Fowler, a former convenience-store operator with virtually no legal training, testified in January that he was overwhelmed by the position after winning a 2004 election for the judgeship.

“When I first took office,’ he said, “I was just as lost as I could be.”






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3 Responses to “Supreme Court dumps ‘lost’ Twiggs probate judge”

  1. andjusticeforall says:

    Another one bites the dust. How did this guy stay on the bench that long?
    His arrogance is unbelievable. But, judges and lawyers think the laws of Georgia do not apply to them! I’m sure there will be more to fall. Citizens need to keep reporting the scumbags. The good ole boy network needs to be continually chipped away at until one day Georgians might get at least a fair shake. Publicity is the best tool, because the State Bar of Georgia is useless and the JQC is overwhelmed and understaffed. People don’t realize how corrupt the system is until they get wrapped up in it. Voting lawyers out of public office is a great place to start.
    Keep up the great reporting Jim!

  2. Michele says:

    “Fowler, a former convenience-store operator with virtually no legal training, testified in January that he was overwhelmed by the position after winning a 2004 election for the judgeship.”

    This is the crux of the problems in GA. These people should not be allowed to judge anyone. This is utterly ridiculous. Are the people in this state that stupid not to fight against these crooks? Dang, this gives a whole knew meaning to idiots and corruption.

  3. Michele says:

    And now he claims it was overwhelming after he was caught, typical response of a crook and an incompetent fool. He knew he was not qualified why did he run? Greed, greed, greed and an egotistical SOB! He can claim all the fake remorse but he did people wrong and he needs to go to jail like many of those he help send.