Special prosecutor may handle probe of Ga. judge

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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.

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/23/11 - 08:02 am
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"Among other things, Williams

"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."

Sounds like about every judge who ever sent me to jail.

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