ATLANTA – The head of the Georgia State Judicial Oversight Group said the agency is now working on a backlog of ethics cases dating back several years.
The Judicial Qualifications Commission is responsible for investigating ethics complaints against Georgia’s 1,800 judges.
For several years, the system for handling these complaints has been slowed down by changes in the law and then by the pandemic.
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JQC Director Chuck Boring said Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher that he began working on that backlog this week during a two-day hearing for Judge Eric Norris, accused of berating a citizen who criticized him on social media.
“The public wants the finality of these complaints that we receive. The judges deserve the finality, so it’s really good to take the process a bit further, ”said Boring.
Channel 2 Action News investigated another case in which the JQC filed charges in 2019.
Judge Terrinee Gundy is charged with nine counts of ethical misconduct, including persistent absenteeism and ordering an employee to cover her absences. She was due in court last month, but as if for a day.
Boring says judges generally want these issues resolved quickly.
“Usually as soon as possible. And then the other judges, as well as in the court system, who may be affected by the misconduct of other judges really, I’m sure, would like to see these complaints resolved, “Boring said.
The resolution comes in part from a three-person hearing panel, but there is no immediate resolution like in a jury trial.
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Boring says panel members will likely take weeks to draft their findings and legal reasoning, as well as recommendations for disciplinary action.
“It’s not just like a criminal trial where you go in and then try in front of the jury and then he appeal. It’s a whole different animal, ”he said.
The Georgia Supreme Court will have to approve any disciplinary action.
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