A dozen people, including a former sheriff, mishandled scores of absentee ballots cast in elections in four Georgia counties in 2008, state elections officials say. Investigators found ballots were requested or marked without voters’ knowledge, voters were assisted who did not need help, and some of the “helpers” covered their tracks by failing to sign paperwork to acknowledge their involvement. In Twiggs County, FBI analysis found fingerprints of former Sheriff Doyle Stone and his son, Greg Stone, on envelopes containing absentee ballots.
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.
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.
Jan. 29, 2010 — A system that allows non-lawyers to dispense justice in much of rural Georgia has become a central issue in the possible removal of Twiggs County Probate Judge Ken Fowler. The judge’s lawyer blamed Fowler’s mistakes on a lack of training. But former Attorney General Mike Bowers told the commission that Georgia cannot be “sympathetic for incompetence.”
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.
Tiny Wilkinson County (pop. 10,026) has won more federal stimulus money, per capita, than any county in Georgia, according to an intriguing new interactive tracking tool put together by the non-profit investigative Web site ProPublica. Wilkinson will benefit from a $56.4 million award to the Georgia DOT to build the 7.2-mile North Gordon Bypass from the Twiggs County line. That’s $5,661 for each man, woman and child in the county, or 31 times the national average.
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