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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Special Prosecutor Possible in Judicial Misconduct Case

Special prosecutor possible in the Brunswick judge misconduct case
The Florida Times-Union by Teresa Stepzinski, Terry Dickson - January 10, 2012

BRUNSWICK, GA  - A special prosecutor might be appointed to determine if Chief Superior Court Judge Amanda F. Williams committed a crime while being investigated for judicial misconduct.  The state Attorney General’s Office wants to examine the Judicial Qualification Commission’s evidence that Williams lied to its investigators, and violated her oath of office, both of which are felony crimes.  Lauren Kane, spokeswoman for Attorney General Sam Olens, said the office will decide whether to appoint a special prosecutor after talking to commission officials.  If appointed, the special prosecutor would determine whether criminal charges would be filed.  Facing 14 counts of unethical conduct on the bench, Williams submitted her resignation this week, effective Jan. 2.  Had she not resigned, the commission would have conducted a hearing on the charges and could have asked the state Supreme Court to remove her from the bench.  Among other things, Williams was accused of imposing indefinite jail terms on defendants, especially those in drug court, giving favorable treatment to the family of friends and those with high social standing, depriving defendants of access to their lawyers and ruling without giving parties a chance to be heard.  With her resignation and an agreement to never again return to the bench, the commission dismissed all of the ethics charges against her.  A conviction of a felony would mean Williams, 65, would lose her state pension, about $74,000 a year.  As a judge, she was paid an annual state salary of $120,252.  She will immediately lose the local supplements paid by the five counties in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit. Glynn County alone pays Superior Court judges $21,600 a year.  Jackie Johnson, district attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, previously recused her office from any action in the case, Kane confirmed.  Johnson said she did this because the commission might have called staff members as witnesses.  However, one of the charges against Williams was that she held a reception for Johnson at her home in April 2009 at which she endorsed Johnson for the district attorney’s job.  Johnson has said, to her knowledge, Williams made no such endorsement.  terry.dickson@jacksonville.com, (912) 264-0405  -  teresa.stepzinski@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4075


********************************** RELATED STORY:

District Attorney Investigating Ex-Judge
The Associated Press  -  January 10, 2012
ATLANTA (AP) —  Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Tuesday he accepted a request by Attorney General Sam Olens to probe the case involving Amanda Williams, a Brunswick Superior Court judge who resigned this month.  A prosecutor said he will launch an "immediate investigation" into misconduct charges against a powerful south Georgia judge who stepped down this month rather than face allegations that she abused her authority.  Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Tuesday he accepted a request by Attorney General Sam Olens to probe the case involving Amanda Williams, a Brunswick Superior Court judge who resigned this month. The accusations were filed last year by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which doesn't have the power to file criminal charges. But the complaint said Williams made several "material false statements" to investigators in violation of a Georgia law that makes it a crime to lie to government authorities.  Williams' attorney John Ossick declined to comment.

********************************** BACKGROUND STORY:
Brunswick judge facing charges to step down from bench
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Bill Rankin  -  December 20, 2011

An influential South Georgia judge accused of locking up defendants indefinitely and cutting off their access to relatives and lawyers will step down from the bench and avoid a potentially explosive trial. In a letter delivered Tuesday to Gov. Nathan Deal, Judge Amanda Williams of Brunswick said she intends to retire from the bench on Jan. 2. She also signed a consent order agreeing to never again seek or hold judicial office.  In November, the state Judicial Qualifications Commission filed a dozen ethics charges against Williams. It accused her of jailing participants in her drug court for indefinite terms, giving false statements when asked about it, behaving in a tyrannical manner on the bench and allowing family members who were attorneys appear in cases before her. Last week, the commission filed more charges, alleging that Williams gave special treatment to a man facing family violence charges by letting him enter drug court. She was also accused of allowing a lawyer defending her before the judicial commission to represent clients with cases before her. Williams did not return phone calls seeking comment.  The seven-member commission was to consider Williams’ case during a trial expected early next year. Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears and former state Attorney General Mike Bowers had signed on to prosecute the case against Williams.  “It’s the best resolution I could have hoped for,” Sears said Tuesday, referring to Williams’ decision to step down. “This is what needed to happen. I’m just sorry that her judicial circuit and the state had to go through all of this to get to this point.”  Williams, chief judge of the five-county Brunswick Judicial Circuit, first won election to the Superior Court bench in 1990. She has presided over Glynn County’s drug court for more than a dozen years and the operation was expanded to include participants from Camden and Wayne counties, making it the largest drug court in the state.  Williams came under intense scrutiny early this year when the public radio show, “This American Life,” broadcast “Very Tough Love,” a segment that gave a harsh review of her drug court.  According to the commission’s charges, Williams jailed a drug court participant, who had previously been flagged for having suicidal tendencies, for an open-ended term of detention and ordered her to be placed on “total restriction,” meaning no access to her family or her lawyer. Two months later, the woman attempted suicide in the Glynn County jail, the charges said.  The complaint also said Williams “summarily jailed” a drug court participant because he used the term “baby momma” when he asked to be excused from a Saturday session to attend a family function. Last year, when a group of juvenile probationers appeared in her drug court, Williams began screaming at one girl because she was chuckling in court. When the girl began to sob, Williams ordered her removed and placed in handcuffs, the complaint said.  Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison of Brunswick said Tuesday the drug court will remain in operation and the circuit’s judges will meet next week to decide how to proceed. As for Williams’ decision, Harrison said, “I am sad to see her career end the way it did.”  Attorney Mary Helen Moses, who strongly criticized Williams during an unsuccessful campaign last year to unseat her from the bench, said she was gratified the commission’s charges were filed and have now been resolved.  “I hope it means we’ll see some positive reforms in the drug court,” she said. “This provides an opportunity for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit to move forward and do better.”

12 comments:

victim said...

There's a concept that's been lost in New York-- CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST BAD JUDGES WHO BREAK THE LAW !!!!

Anonymous said...

Such conduct would be accepted by Tembeckjian and never looked into by the CJC in NY. Jail for judges is a good idea and jail for Tembeckjian even better.

Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...

"There's a concept that's been lost in New York"

that concept is gonna be put to the test real soon up here...

--Michael A. Hense is Searching For Rule Of Law In America

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for the onslaught of Federal corruption indictments in Westchester.

Whatever happened to all those hearings that Senator Sampson held?

He couldn't have been doing it just for show, could he?

Anonymous said...

Yeah right, they are investigating nothing. Look as Senator Sampson hearings. Even Sampson took it as a joke
Look at all the people that testified. Did he do something for anyone of them .

Anonymous said...

Did they get to Sen. Sampson? How did they buy him off? Do the feds have sometine on Sen. Sampson? What else could it be?

Anonymous said...

The corruption does not seem to have a bottom. Now I am seeing it in the ny FBI, U.S.Marshals, even the damn Post Office.
This government is a crime organization. Robbing Americans of their rights and their money.
HELP WE HAVE TO EXPOSE THIS.

Anonymous said...

YA DONE EXPOSED IT !
NOW JUST SHOOT IT !!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

just to confirm, anyone notice
RRR are not being returned to your mailbox? so no signatures but what is the difference anyways, what gov't agency are you going to call!

Anonymous said...

just to confirm, anyone notice
RRR are not being returned to your mailbox? so no signatures but what is the difference anyways, what gov't agency are you going to call!

Anonymous said...

just to confirm, anyone notice
RRR are not being returned to your mailbox? so no signatures but what is the difference anyways, what gov't agency are you going to call!

Anonymous said...

those hearing should have been held by Judges, with Federal Monitors, let them hear what they did!

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2