Five years ago this month
- Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court removed a non-lawyer judge for (1) routinely telling criminal defendants that they had the burden of proving their innocence; (2) allowing defendants to “buy out” the community service portions of their sentences, placing the proceeds into a bank account from which he would authorize the release of funds, and failing to disclose the bank account or turn over the money to the county; (3) abusing and insulting parties appearing in court; (4) ex parte communications; (5) disposing of criminal cases in which the defendants were charged with crimes beyond the jurisdiction of his court; (6) involving himself in a matter not properly before his court and using the prestige of his office to improperly influence a litigant; (7) issuing orders that prohibited the sheriff from awarding “good time” in accordance with a statute; and (8) allowing unqualified persons to serve as court interpreters. Inquiry Concerning Fowler, 696 S.E.2d 644 (Georgia 2010). The Court also barred the judge from judicial office in the state.
- The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, reprimanded him, and fined him $1,500 for inappropriately touching a court clerk and using a racially derogatory term to refer to an African-American department of corrections employee. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Brown, 37 So. 3d 14 (Mississippi 2010).