Georgia secretary of state agrees Saunders is eligible to run for judge

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 6:27 PM
Last updated 11:11 PM
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 Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp agreed with a state administrative judge’s ruling that Juvenile Court Judge Willie Saunders is eligible to run for a Superior Court judge position, according to a ruling filed today.

A formal challenge to Saunders’ candidacy was filed in May by Augusta attorney Jack Long. Long claimed that Saunders should not be allowed to challenge Chief Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet for his seat in the Augusta Circuit because state law bars anyone who has defaulted on tax obligations from holding office.

Kemp, who has the final say in such election challenges, decided to adopt Judge Michael M. Malihi’s July 16 ruling, which said although Saunders owes federal taxes, his plan to pay the IRS under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy settlement meets the standard for a payment plan required by state law.

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Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 07/26/12 - 01:18 am
Willie Saunders has the courage to take on...

the Fleming machine. My Hometown would be better off if more of its residents had the courage to confront "The Chief" and his minions, the most notorious of whom is Carlisle Overstreet.

"There's not much courage in Augusta, GA." But Juvenile Court Judge Willie Saunders has more than his share.

americafirst 07/26/12 - 07:02 am
Courage? The man can't make a

Courage? The man can't make a living practicing law. He is trying to do the only thing left to salvage his finances. Does that qualify him for the highest legal position in Augusta?

Thigpen 07/26/12 - 12:52 pm
Do not belive the Austin Rhodes machine..

Judge Overstreet is an honorable man who has served his communities well and is deserving of your vote next Tuesday. Mr. Saunders is a very nice gentleman but, he is not ready for the job of superior court judge.

Austin Rhodes would like for everyone to think that Judge Overstreet is soft on crime and only cites ONE case that transpired in 2003 where a local deputy was shot my a roomate of a drug dealer during a drug raid. Mr. Rhodes believes that the sentence given out by was too short. What Mr. Rhodes fails to mention is that, then at the time DA Craig only charged the young man with assault with a deadly weapon, not assault with a weapon on a police officer. If Mr. Craig would have charged the man with the PROPER charge, then yes, he would have gotten a longer sentence.

Mr. Rhodes will not tell you that though, he is still upset that Judge Overstreet defeated his good buddy Mike Eubanks in the 1992 election and has made it his prime objective the last few years to smear Judge Oversteet's name.

He also fails to mention Judge Saunders alleged illegal associations with Mr. Ben (look out for that light-pole) Harbin. Judge Saunders and Judge Christine allegedly gave a political speech on behalf of a candidate which is to my understanding a violation of the Georgia Code of Judaical Conduct. Judge Christine has already expressed his desire to continue his noble service with the military, which I can not argue with. Yet, Judge Saunders would like to further is judicial career, even though he doesn't apparently know the whole 7 Canons of the Georgia Code of Judaical Conduct.
Make no mistake about it, Mr. Rhodes only has one person in mind when it comes to these elections, himself. He would rather let a good judge fall so he can have a closer relationship and possibly influence on a candidate of his choosing.

Rambler 07/26/12 - 01:04 pm
Meet Saunders' famous

Meet Saunders' famous client

Prosecution lays out case

By Staff Writer

The question is not whether Willie G. Allen shot two people to death, it's why, according to attorneys' opening statements Friday.

Both sides intend to lean heavily on forensic evidence to support their version of what happened Dec. 11, 2003, when 28-year-old Angela van Eeden and 33-year-old Ray Anthony Cobb died violently.

Mr. Allen, 30, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping, burglary and weapon violations. If he is convicted of murder, the jury will be asked to set punishment at life with or without the possibility of parole or death. Prosecutors say Mr. Allen sadistically tormented Ms. van Eeden for months after she broke off their relationship. It culminated with Mr. Allen breaking into Ms. van Eeden's home just after midnight while Mr. Cobb was visiting, District Attorney Danny Craig said.

Before Mr. Allen grabbed up the two small children he fathered with Ms. van Eeden and left that night, he left her dead in her bedroom with a bullet wound to her neck, Mr. Craig said. Mr. Cobb lay in a neighbor's yard where he had tried to flee from Mr. Allen. When Mr. Cobb fell to the ground already shot five times, Mr. Allen stood over him and shot him in the face, then fired a final executioner's bullet into Mr. Cobb's right ear, Mr. Craig said.

Defense attorney Willie Saunders told the jury in his opening statement that the 40-caliber handgun wasn't Mr. Allen's and that Ms. van Eeden invited him inside her home that night. There was an argument and gunfire, a lot of gunfire, when Mr. Allen struggled with Ms. van Eeden and then Mr. Cobb over the gun, Mr. Saunders said.

It was Mr. Allen who tried to flee and he fired to escape, said Mr. Saunders, who represents Mr. Allen with lead attorney Michael C. Garrett.

The Hephzibah home on Gebhart Count where the shooting took place belonged to Ms. van Eeden's father. She had been living with Mr. Allen and the children in Florida until she returned to Augusta in late 2001 to care for her father, Robbie A. van Eeden. Mr. van Eeden was extremely sick and needed full-time care, her sisters testified Friday.

Christina van Eeden said Mr. Allen moved back to Augusta, too, and lived with her sister on and off until she kicked him out of her family's home.

It happened in the spring of 2003, when she noticed Angela's face looked swollen and she asked about it.

"She just started crying," Christina van Eeden said of her sister. Mr. Allen had choked her unconscious the night before, she quoted.

Christina van Eeden testified she convinced her sister to go stay with their younger sister, Frances van Eeden, in Connecticut for a while. She had the locks at the Hephzibah home changed and told Mr. Allen he had to leave, she testified. Mr. Allen became belligerent with her, Christina van Eeden said.

When Angela van Eeden returned to Augusta, she called the police and obtained protective orders, but the violence continued, her sisters testified. Frances van Eeden testified that Mr. Allen shot at her sister's car, broke into her home, beat her and broke her nose.

Testimony continues today in Richmond County Superior Court.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or

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