Speeder banned from Georgia county

Ricardo Riley said he actually likes visiting Walton County. (Image from WSB-TV)

Ricardo Riley said he actually likes visiting Walton County. (Image from WSB-TV)

Back when I was a reporter, judges would occasionally ban those found guilty of serious crimes to Echols County, a small wedge of semi-dry land wedged between North America’s largest swamp and Florida.

I recall asking the judge in a second-degree kidnapping case how such bans helped society and he said something like “well at least we got him out of Valdosta.” I ran with that quote and society at large did not seem offended.

The judge told me it was unconstitutional to ban a criminal from the entire state, but it was OK to ban them from up to 158 of Georgia’s 159 counties. He said most criminals would voluntarily move to another state when their only option was living in a Georgia county that doesn’t have a city.

But what about speeders? Should judges ban people for traffic offenses?

Such a thing has happened, reports WSB-TV reporter Tony Thomas.

Gwinnett County resident Ricardo Riley was banned from Walton County after pleading guilty to going 40 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone. Walton County is southeast of Gwinnett County and includes the cities of Monroe, Loganville, Social Circle.

Riley, who doesn’t seem to have a criminal record, said he thought he would plead guilty and get a fine of $250. Instead, he said he was fined $1,000, given 12 months probation, ordered to attend driving school and banished for life from Walton County.

If you’re going to get permanently banned from a place, Walton County, home of pretty much nothing except a tiny piece of I-20, is a good pick.

Despite that truism, Riley is unhappy.

“I didn’t commit no murder, I’m not a sex offender, I’m not a criminal. I just got a speeding ticket, so I think that’s not fair,” Riley said.

Riley is bummed because he can no longer visit friends in Walton or drop his kids of at a co-worker’s house.

The worst part of the sentence is being on probation, which means he can’t return to his home country of Jamaica, said Riley.

As I’ve said before, fines, especially stupid ones, don’t seem to reduce crimes.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story said Riley said he would continue to speed, but I misunderstood the WSB story. Riley said he will NOT speed in the future. Sorry about that. The video below makes it more clear. Also, Tony Thomas tells me Riley may have misunderstood part of his sentence and he is NOT banned for life, but only banned as long as he remains on probation for the speeding ticket.

More news to speed past:

67 comments Add your comment

Bernie31

February 7th, 2014
10:16 am

South Georgia…..There has ALWAYS been a strong belief there is something in The Water down there that makes these Chrisitan Family Value Jesus Loving Pretending People Hate other Americans, So much.

Why Fear any Terroirst from the Middle East? Just driving through anywhere in Rural Georgia,
A Person of Color will find Thousands of such TERRORISTS and TALIBAN Members, All around everywhere they LQQK and Go.

Praise JAYSUS!

uh..huh

joe

February 7th, 2014
10:25 am

Bernie, you are very unintelligent (but we all know that already). The terrorists from the middle east would cut off your head just because you an are American. Do not compare them to anyone in rural Georgia, no matter what color they are.

Flint dog

February 7th, 2014
10:26 am

Ok, now share the WHOLE story.b

Lawful

February 7th, 2014
10:31 am

“The worst part of the sentence is being on probation, which means he can’t return to his home country of Jamaica, said Riley, who added he will continue to speed.”

Great another fine addition to our country. If your going to live here OBEY the LAW. Thumbing your noise at the law saying you will continue to but everyone else’s safety at risk is not American, if it is then I need to move somewhere else.

“”I’m not a criminal”" – guess what. Speeding is a mistermeaner, which is a lesser crime. So you are a criminal if you break the law.

Lawful

February 7th, 2014
10:35 am

Mr. Mathis.

You sir are an idiot. People that speed are just as guilty as any other criminal. Also, Driving is a privilage, not a right. You can have that removed and I believe it is completely fair to do so, especialy if Mr.Riley rolled up in court with the same attitude of “…will continue to speed”. Willful distregard for the law is exactly why sentences like this are passed down. And I support it.

Road Scholar

February 7th, 2014
10:38 am

“I didn’t commit no murder, …”

Double negative means you did commit murder!

Ah Echols County…and the City of Fargo was regularly used as a threat if you screwed up at my old job!

What else did Riley say? The punishment seems harsh. Was it similar to others who did 40 in a 25 mph zone?

Road Scholar

February 7th, 2014
10:43 am

Lawful, you have never traveled over the speed limit? Ever? Not used your turn signal? Oh and Mathis was repeating a common refrain in regards to Bernie. Many believe he goes off his meds, as evidenced by some of his opinions. Is that your problem also, or are you just stupid?

SCY

February 7th, 2014
10:46 am

Such phoney indignation from this “lawful” character, who is certainly no saint, judging by the dishwatery utterances he has typed on this site. Comparing someone who gets a speeding ticket, which in many cases is nothing more than a revenue generating tool for local municipalities, with murderers, rapists, child molesters and drug dealers is the height of ignorance. Supporters for this action has nothing to due with rule of law and is a blatant overreach by statists and fools, probably of limited education and even less intelligence, which I challenge him to prove otherwise

Maude

February 7th, 2014
10:50 am

This can’t be true. When I read the title I thought this must be a super speeder with lots of tickets in that county, but 15 over is stupid. What do they do for real crimes?

stoneinyourshoe

February 7th, 2014
10:50 am

Lawful,
Be careful up there, you might fall off that high horse.

Maude

February 7th, 2014
10:52 am

By the way where is Walton county? I do not want to ever drive through it.

RT

February 7th, 2014
10:53 am

Bernie – Walton County is not in South Georgia.

George Mathis

February 7th, 2014
10:54 am

Walton County is adjacent to and southeast of Gwinnett. I will put that in the story.

armydawg

February 7th, 2014
10:59 am

I think Walton County will continue to have a great quality of life, a great school in George Walton Academy and friendly residents, so long as you keep your a$$ out.

coj

February 7th, 2014
11:27 am

Now the fact that this speeder was black had nothing to do with his sentence, right? And do they also ban other speeders from the county, black or white?

Tom

February 7th, 2014
11:28 am

ok, I expected to hear 100+ on I-16 or something interesting but 40 in a 25?!?

that’s the inherent paradox of power (politicians, judges, prosecutors, cops on down to HOAs & PTA) – those who should have it don’t want it (and/or don’t have time for it, doesn’t pay enough, etc) & those who want it should be under restraining orders not to get within 100′ of it!

trev

February 7th, 2014
11:33 am

Lawful,

You shouldn’t call someone an idiot if you cannot spell misdemeanor correctly.

How Lawful spelled misdemeanor:

Speeding is a mistermeaner, which is a lesser crime. So you are a criminal if you break the law. – Lawful

Johnny B Good

February 7th, 2014
11:41 am

I would like to see his entire criminal and drivers history? Great job George Mathis getting all the facts! “Riley, who doesn’t seem to have a criminal record.” I’m sure some past issues led to this stiff sentence. It sounds like you either did a poor job looking into the background or intentionally left that question vague in your story to make Walton County look worse. Basically you are trying to make this guy out to be the victim after he broke the law. I was wondering when race would come into this. Great job coj! We have a flipping 2-term black president, but we still have discrimination? If we crowned our President “King Hussein Obama” for life would the racism crap stop?

Berniecia69

February 7th, 2014
11:45 am

My sperm dad Bernie31 won’t swallow any pills that are White. He gots problems alright!

Uh…huh

Oh…yeah

cc

February 7th, 2014
11:48 am

This is absurd. And for those who say things like “this is what you get for not following the law…” are you prepared for this sort of justice to happen to your friends? Your family? Yourself? You think that because he was going 15mph over the speed limit he should be banned from traveling in this country? That is patently unAmerican on every level.

C

February 7th, 2014
11:58 am

The sentence is a joke and I hope grounds for appeal exist. The judge should be censored for ignoring common sense.

DS

February 7th, 2014
12:09 pm

“If you’re going to get permanently banned from a place, Walton County, home of pretty much nothing, is a good pick.”

Ooh, not very nice, and not true, either. I’ve been through Walton County on several bicycle rides, and I think it’s a fine place.

Still, I have no idea what’s up with this judge. This is a gross misuse of power—really doesn’t match the offense at all.

Ron

February 7th, 2014
12:12 pm

George this article is lacking in good jounalism. You have who, what, when, and where but where is the how and why. Did you attempt to get the judge’s side of th story? As Paul Harvey used to say: “the rest of story is”, so write this until you had the full story.

MANGLER

February 7th, 2014
12:16 pm

Meanwhile, just 1 County over, if you were pulled on 285 for only going 15 over, you’d be banned for life from it.

George Mathis

February 7th, 2014
12:24 pm

Ron, this is not journalism. Also, the judge has refused comment to WSB, so he won’t talk to me either. But thanks for the input.

Bumper

February 7th, 2014
12:27 pm

Good luck enforcing that ban. Government doesn’t exactly have a stellar record when it comes to “banning” millions of people who want to live in the U.S. illegally, fat chance anyone will keep tabs on one guy.

fes

February 7th, 2014
12:27 pm

I’m caught in the spam filter George.

LadyGAGADawg

February 7th, 2014
12:28 pm

This is the judge they needed in TX (I think) that sentenced the young kid to rehabilitation and probation only for killing 4 people while drunk-driving. That lady judge should be banned from the COUNTRY herself ! Liberal judges and lawyers are killing this country, along with our fine upstanding Prez!

Attorney

February 7th, 2014
12:29 pm

That is a void sentence. The judge has no power in a misdemeanor case to ban the guy from the county for life. He can, however, make it a condition of his probation that he not come into the county. So… the legal effect is that he is banned from Walton county for one year while he is on probation. If that judge really thought he had the power to ban someone from the county for life for a misdemeanor, he is either legally incompetent or just feeling a little too big for his britches.

JTLATL

February 7th, 2014
12:30 pm

George the judge is a coward, that’s why he won’t talk to you but I guess you already knew that. He will continue to hide in his court room and hand out absurdly heavy-handed sentences for people that drive 15 MPH over the speed limit. I get the fine, and I get the driving school….40 in a 25 is pretty excessive because typically those areas are residential. But Probation? For a driving offense? Unless this guy is working on his 5th + violation in a 3 year period that just seems to be another way to get a person of color “into the system”.

Litt

February 7th, 2014
12:39 pm

Perception is everything. What did he say or do when he appeared before the Judge? Was he respectful of the court? Judges wield considerable power and if you show up in court without a lawyer, be prepared for the worst. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white or purple, don’t poke a tiger with a stick. Does that mean what the sentence the judge imposed was just? Nope, but there is a time and appointed place to seek redress. Mr. Riley has a number of options available to him, he just needs to avail himself of those legal remedies. Something as simple as a sincerely written letter to the court may be all it takes.

KJ

February 7th, 2014
12:44 pm

This will just encourage me to speed even faster on I20 through Walton, just to get out of there sooner. Thanks judge!

PR

February 7th, 2014
12:48 pm

Just shows how backwards and stupid Georgia leaders are. This should be illegal. The judge needs to be removed from the bench.

Cutty

February 7th, 2014
12:50 pm

DWB is what it was. If Ricardo was Suzie, Mary, or Jennifer, Bo or Luke for that matter, the fine wouldn’t have been as high and he definitely wouldn’t have been banished from the county. Yeah, racism still exists.

paradiddle

February 7th, 2014
1:00 pm

Someone should follow the judge while he drives around and clock his speed. If he doesn’t speed, he’s the only person behind the wheel of a car in the entire state who doesn’t. Of course, we all know the real reason this guy got banned and it had nothing to do with speeding.

TBT

February 7th, 2014
1:01 pm

Maybe his real name is not Ricardo Riley. The criminal justice system is filled with folks that have alias names. His version of the story is fishy ….

Brace4impactz

February 7th, 2014
1:04 pm

It’s being reported that the judge became angry because the guy wanted to negotiate a lower fine. The nerve!! That’s obviously getting “uppity” in Walton. In 100 years it will be hard to convince young students of just how ignorant Georgia was in 2014.

mike

February 7th, 2014
1:08 pm

If you have lived long enough in Georgia, you know sometimes if you are outside the metro Atlanta area you might as well be in the 1940s and 1950s. Especially in rural areas. So it is not a surprise this happened. Please don’t go to these courts looking like him and even worse with a name like Ricardo. Then again, do you really expect anything different from these folks.

Pavel Mitchum

February 7th, 2014
1:14 pm

I’d like to ban idiots from Gwinnett, Hall, Henry and most of Cobb, Douglas, towel heads and pretty much everyone south of I-20 in town from city of Atlanta.

Criminal

February 7th, 2014
1:15 pm

” “”I’m not a criminal”” – guess what. Speeding is a mistermeaner, which is a lesser crime. So you are a criminal if you break the law. ”

That settles it. Everybody is a criminal.

Glenn

February 7th, 2014
1:22 pm

This ISN’T South GA; Walton County, according to the article, is “just southeast of Gwinnett County” which I promise is nowhere near the “Gnat Line,” which is pretty much considered at the middle of GA (Macon/Warner Robbins area). Anything BELOW the “Gnat Line” MIGHT be considered South GA, but in reality, that’s still Middle GA until probably Cordele or so.

On the flip side, in South GA, it probably would have been difficult for him to get up to that speed on a back road because of all of the tractors, fruit, peanut, cotton, and log trucks on the road, anyway. ;-)

Voice of Insanity

February 7th, 2014
1:23 pm

What Georgia needs to do, is strike speeding from the misdemeanor roles. It was only added to give the police another way to arrest someone or to pile on charges to make an arrest look stronger in the courts.

TBT

February 7th, 2014
1:32 pm

anon

February 7th, 2014
1:43 pm

Let’s be real here. This man was banished from Walton county for a reason, and it wasn’t because of speeding.

cc

February 7th, 2014
2:09 pm

really anon? Then why won’t the judge clarify the reason?

Bernie31

February 7th, 2014
2:21 pm

joe @ 10:25 am – Yep Joe You are Right The Terrorist in rural Gerogia use a different MO. They have Murders that cannot be explained logically. Like the one most recently in South Georgia where the Black Kid who strangled himself, while upside down trying to reach for his Gym shoe in a rolled up wresting Mat in the school Gym with cameras rolling with video tapping on pause. Then to have the Local Funeral Parlor dispose of the ORGANS and stuff the kid with NEWSPAPER for a PROPER BURIAL. With Community Members like that, why Fear the Terrorist?

uh..huh.

Ricky Ricardo

February 7th, 2014
2:22 pm

Ricardo Riley probably has several different aliases. Simply take a look at the arrest records of many new “immigrants” to this country. You can buy all sorts of documents to create differents aliases. This is how people commit entitlement fraud and voter fraud.

partlycloudy

February 7th, 2014
2:25 pm

Yes, we used to, in Fulton County, ban people from every county except Echols if we knew they were not violent or dangerous. We couldn’t ban them from the state by law, but we could ban them from 158 counties. We should have picked a county in far NW GA instead of one down in the swamps.

Berniecia69

February 7th, 2014
2:27 pm

“Then to have the Local Funeral Parlor dispose of the ORGANS and stuff the kid with NEWSPAPER for a PROPER BURIAL. With Community Members like that, why Fear the Terrorist?”
______________________

Attention sperm dad Bernie31 …. Antonio Harrington, the funeral home owner / operator is BLACK!

Homer

February 7th, 2014
2:30 pm

As a taxpaying resident of the county, I am appalled, saddened, and ashamed to read this. A good bit of the speeding I witness day to day is public servants on their way to “lunch”. The judge should be censored for an ignorant and biased decision like this. Lawful, in my opinion you are a hypocritical joke. When you get your next ticket (provided you are not exempt from these), I can only hope you receive the same equally barbaric treatment. Maybe it’s time to move out of this county.

Bernie31

February 7th, 2014
2:33 pm

Berniecia69 @ 2:27 pm – ALL know the county’s Good ole Boy’s Money is Green and Not Being Dead is a great motivator to cooperate with The very Powerful and Infulential Lucky Gene Pool Club in that area.

Boxtradamus

February 7th, 2014
2:46 pm

Whoever said Bernie31 is an American was wrong, she is actually an African Non-American.

Donotspeed

February 7th, 2014
2:59 pm

1. The only places that have the 25 mph speed limit in Walton County are school zones, neighborhoods, and a small portion of downtown areas that have a lot of people walking.
2. There was a child recently hit by a hit and run driver in that county in a 25 mph that was speeding.
3. The judges in that county are known to give harsh sentances when people are disrespectful.

Anyone that watched the TV interview with the man last night has to wonder what type of attitude he had with the judge.

Jamaican Bobsled Team

February 7th, 2014
3:01 pm

Hey mon! We Jamaicans has lots of jobs and lots of names to go with those jobs! ;)

Ricardo Marley probably got gonga smokes in the judge’s face.

He might have shot the sheriff, but he didn’t shoot the deputy …

Donotspeed

February 7th, 2014
3:10 pm

As for all the people saying that this is a race thing…. Ask anyone around town what happens to anyone under 21 that gets a speeding ticket in the county. They have a suspended license for 6 months, probation, fine, and driving school. Approximately 10 years ago there were 18 deaths in Walton County within a year, most of which were related to speeding.

[...] If you get a speeding ticket in Walton County, you may want to reconsider going to court over it: Speeder banned from Georgia county | News To Me with George Mathis Note: the original article mistakenly said the driver was banned for life. He is only banned for [...]

KGray

February 7th, 2014
3:27 pm

Most of you CRACKERS and CRAZY and STUPID IDIOTS!

Reality

February 7th, 2014
3:57 pm

Well I do believe that is MUCH, MUCH, more to this story…..and the reason for the Judges sentence !!!!

If not, this Judge has a major problem!

Cee

February 7th, 2014
4:09 pm

Driving While Black (DWB)
I knew he was black before I even read the article. This only happens us.
$1,000 fine, driving school, AND 12 months probation!

I dropped my fried twinkie

February 7th, 2014
4:12 pm

What about AMANDA DAVIS a Black Woman getting away with DUI? I guess the judge was racists too. He really hit her hard. 20 hours community service and $200 fine…..

1

February 7th, 2014
4:42 pm

NOTE: An earlier version of this story said Riley said he would continue to speed, but I misunderstood the WSB story. Riley said he will NOT speed in the future. Sorry about that. The video below makes it more clear. Also, Tony Thomas tells me Riley may have misunderstood part of his sentence and he is NOT banned for life, but only banned as long as he remains on probation for the speeding ticket…great reporting George Mathis.

BHO

February 7th, 2014
5:01 pm

I am going to stop identifying as Black and start embracing the better, White part of my heritage.

SouthernDem

February 7th, 2014
5:09 pm

As a former Loganville resident, this story–though extreme–doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Walton Co.’s judicial system is hopelessly stuck in a 1950s mindset. I wouldn’t be surprised if this judge thinks that Martin Luther King, Jr. is still alive.

Anyone who believes this is a reasonable punishment is out of their mind. Try putting yourself in his shoes, and imagine how you’d feel under those circumstances. This isn’t justice; its extremism, and possible abuse of authority.

The Constitution protects us from this sort of over the top punishment and this guy should be looking for ways to take this backwoods judge to court.

Von

February 7th, 2014
5:42 pm

Even assuming he was a habitual speeder, banishment from the county is just wrong. To be honest I would appeal AND sue.

HootyGoot

February 7th, 2014
5:54 pm

I wouldn’t care if they barred me out of all the Ga. counties south of McDonough. The Okeefenokee Swamp stinks.

Banishment, my eye

February 7th, 2014
6:07 pm

The Georgia Supreme Court considers banishment to be a pretty severe punishment, but has been tolerant of it so long as it serves a constructive purpose that somehow relates to the original offfense. For example, the Court’s been generally okay with banishing drug dealers and domestic abusers, as banishment effectively disconnects them from the means to continue their offenses (yes, they *could* go elsewhere, but they won’t be selling drugs or beating women in the banishing county any longer). And going 15 MPH over the limit simply doesn’t rise to the level of meth sales and wife-beating.

I found the punishment intriguing, because Georgia Code would more or less mandate license suspension or revocation if Mr. Riley was a habitual offender or if he had a significant criminal record. Since no suspension or revocation was mentioned, it would appear that Mr. Riley’s sentence was not only far out of standards, but also egregiously indefensible.

My advice to Mr. Riley is this. First, retain an attorney. Then file a motion with the court to modify the sentence and throw out the banishment. Under the provisions of OCGA 40-13-32 and 33, the court can do this summarily, If the court declines, then appeal. IMO, any attorney worth his salt will be able to get that portion of the sentence thrown out on appeal, and no judge likes to be overridden. So get an attorney and give the judge a chance to do right. If he won’t, appeal and do it for him.

Those of you who think that punishment was fair are certainly entitled to your views. That said, watch your speedometers closely lest the same cop and same judge get a chance to treat you like they treated Mr. Riley.

cricket

February 8th, 2014
6:12 pm

Judge Brad Brownlow is a Loganville city judge and he is known for this sort of thing. I live in Loganville and anyone who has been here very long knows better than to ever go to court over a traffic ticket. If you dare try to fight one in front of this judge you will have hell to pay. It is just the way he rolls. I’m surprised he didn’t throw Mr. Riley in jail too. That has happened before. I hope the media follows up on this story. Something needs to be done.