Originally created 07/22/98

Judges miss deadline for appeal



A missed deadline could silence the defense of local judges who are trying to fend off a challenge to the way they conduct business in the Augusta Judicial Circuit.

On Monday, attorneys for capital murder suspect William Lumpkin filed a motion with the Georgia Supreme Court, asking the court to throw out the local judges' defense brief because the Attorney General's office missed the deadline by a day.

The Attorney General's office is representing the local judges in this case.

"Appellees (the Augusta Judicial Circuit Superior Court judges) have yet again demonstrated their disregard for mandatory court rules, this time violating Supreme Court Rule 12," attorneys Michael Mears and G. Terry Jackson write in their motion.

Mr. Lumpkin's civil challenge against the way the local court does business was filed last fall and dismissed by an out-of-town judge in March.

Mr. Lumpkin -- facing capital murder charges in the Sept. 2, 1996, death of real estate agent Stan White -- appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court in June.

According to Mr. Mears and Mr. Jackson's motion filed Monday, the Attorney General's office had until July 13 to file the judges' written response to appeal, and the brief wasn't filed until July 14.

Only four judges preside over criminal and civil cases, and the remaining three, the newest judges, handle domestic cases.