The state Supreme Court today ordered that a north Georgia magistrate be immediately and permanently removed from office, upholding a recommendation from the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
A just-issued summary of what the court said about Anthony Peters of Catoosa County includes this:
Today’s seven-page opinion details the findings of the commission’s investigation, which include Peters’ weekly use of marijuana during a two-month period in 2010, an incident in which he kicked in the doors at the house of his sister-in-law’s estranged husband, another time when he pointed a gun at himself and told another judge he was not afraid to die, and his appearance in 2010 on a local cable television show in which he called the chief magistrate judge “spineless” and revealed the identity of a confidential informant of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s office. The next day, while the sheriff was being interviewed on a TV talk show, Peters called in and, disguising his voice with various foreign accents, called the sheriff a “spineless jelly spine.”
Peters’ conduct violates the Code of Judicial Conduct, the opinion says, and under the Georgia Constitution of 1983, “[a]ny judge may be removed, suspended, or otherwise disciplined for willful misconduct in office,…or for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute.”
Peters admitted much of the misconduct at a hearing in April before the Judicial Qualifications Commission but said he felt he’d been disciplined “enough” by having been placed on paid administrative leave since June 16, 2010.
“Notwithstanding Judge Peters’ personal belief that he has already received appropriate discipline, the record reveals that Judge Peters has not sought treatment for his admitted drug problems and has done nothing to show that he has any ability to live up to the high standard of conduct expected of members of the judiciary in Georgia,” the opinion says.
“Instead, he spent his time while on administrative leave publicly disparaging the Chief Magistrate Judge and the Sheriff of Catoosa County and endangering the life of a confidential informant by exposing his identity. Such willful misconduct is clearly ‘prejudicial to the administration of justice [and] brings the judicial office into disrepute.’”
“The public deserves much more from its judicial officers,” today’s opinion says, “and those judicial officers who cannot give the public what it deserves – confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary – do not deserve to continue to hold judicial office.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider