Judges Richard Slaby, David Watkins, Patricia Booker and John Flythe cited in a Tuesday court order their recusal “to avoid the appearance of impropriety” if any presided over a sitting commissioner’s criminal trial.
The 10-member commission sets the budgets for state, superior and juvenile courts and the State Court solicitor’s office, which also recused itself from prosecuting the two-term commissioner.
Court filings did not indicate an alternate judge. The Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia named Fay McCormack, an Atlanta lawyer, to prosecute Mason at State Court Solicitor Charles Evans’ request.
Mason’s trial on misdemeanor charges of assault and battery against his wife had been set for Monday before either Watkins or Flythe, but Mason’s attorney, Freddie Sanders, requested more time.
Sanders filed a motion this week listing possible witnesses, including state Rep. Earnest Smith, D-Augusta; Augusta Commission member Bill Lockett; Mason’s daughter, Marquesia Mason, and son, Duane Taylor-Mason; his mother, Hazel Sturdivant; and his ex-wife, Tonia Mason.
Sanders has said that Mason was intervening in an argument between his wife and Marquesia Mason when the Dec. 23 incident took place.
According to earlier court filings, Mason’s wife, Velma Mason, told authorities that Mason tried to choke her because he “felt threatened” by a conversation she was having with a female friend.
Velma Mason also said she hoped to reconcile with her husband of two years.