Panel to set standards for judicial elections
ATLANTA - A committee formed to monitor judicial elections in Georgia will ask candidates for judgeships to abide voluntarily by certain standards and sign a pledge to conduct clean campaigns.
The Georgia Committee for Ethical Judicial Campaigns - composed primarily of lawyers, academics and public officials - initially will monitor elections for seats on the Georgia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
It will provide a forum for disputes or complaints about fund raising and will monitor campaign conduct, advertising and literature.
If necessary, the panel will issue statements rebuking unethical conduct, officials said.
Doctor denies guilt in child abuse case
MCDONOUGH - A doctor accused of failing to report the possible abuse of an 11-year-old girl who later died has pleaded innocent.
Dr. Cathrine Mauer made her initial appearance Thursday in Henry County Superior Court on a misdemeanor charge of failure to report. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Patricia White, a former Henry County Schools guidance counselor, and Carolyn Clemons, a former school nurse with the district, entered similar pleas in March.
Authorities accuse the three of failing to notify child welfare officials or police of signs that Joella Reaves was being physically abused. Police found the Eagle's Landing middle-schooler dead in her family's Stockbridge home Dec. 1. Authorities accuse Rodney Reaves, her father, and Charlott Reaves, her stepmother, of starving and beating Joella to death during the Thanksgiving holiday week.
Special legislative session begins May 3
ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue notified lawmakers Friday that he is calling them into special session beginning May 3 to try again to pass an indigent defense funding bill needed to finance the proposed state budget for the year.
In a strongly worded message, Mr. Perdue said he wants the job done in five days and warned that if he doesn't get a satisfactory bill by then, he will veto the budget and force lawmakers to start anew in still another special session that would likely begin the next week.
Lawmakers ended the regular session April 7 after passing a $16.4 billion budget but without reaching agreement with the governor on the indigent defense bill, which provided about $57 million of the revenue necessary to fund it.
Corrections officials look for headquarters
MACON - Three sites outside the Atlanta area are being considered as the new headquarters for Georgia's Department of Corrections.
Under consideration are Macon, the former Tift College campus in Forsyth and the state's death row facility in Jackson.
The move could mean nearly 500 new jobs for central Georgia. But a decision won't be made until 2008, officials said.
James Donald, who was named commissioner of the Department of Corrections in November, wants to move the agency closer to its prisons, officials said.
Currently, the department has 483 employees in downtown Atlanta. But few of the state's jails are in the Atlanta area or north Georgia.
The move of the Corrections Department's headquarters would be part of an ongoing effort by the state to decentralize operations, moving workers out of Atlanta and spreading them across the state.
43-year-old woman shot to death in car
SAVANNAH - A 43-year-old woman was shot and killed while parked near a busy intersection just after lunchtime Thursday.
A young man reportedly shot the woman in the upper torso, authorities said. Her purse and belongings were still inside the van when police arrived, authorities said. Officers found at least one shell casing.