Jefferson County magistrate arrested, suspended from duties

LOUISVILLE, Ga. -- Jefferson County’s Chief Magistrate Murray Bowman was arrested Sunday by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and charged with aggravated assault.

Sheriff's Maj. Charlie Gibbons said today that deputies responded to a call around 12:05 a.m. Sunday about shots being fired.

“He was involved in an altercation with some other people at an address on old U.S. Highway 1,” Maj. Gibbons said. “Nobody was shot. There were no injuries,” he said. “It’s a felony. He’s out on bond.”

Bond had been set at $25,000, he said.

Maj. Gibbons said Judge Bowman has been suspended from duties by the appropriate judicial oversight authority while the case is pending.

In a hand written statement to the press made Monday, Judge Bowman said, “My wife and I are experiencing marital difficulties and divorce has been filed. I have been accused of impropriety; however, I feel that when all the facts are revealed I will be completely exonerated.

“None of this has anything to do with my job. I will continue to serve the good people of Jefferson County just as I have done for the past 20 years. My daughters and I hope that you will keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we move through this difficult time.”

Jefferson County District Attorney Hayward Altman said Judge Bowman’s case would be handled by another prosecutor and would not be handled by either Superior Court Judge Bobby Reeves or Superior Court Judge Kathy Palmer.

“Our judges had to recuse themselves,” Mr. Altman said.

“I’ve actually made a request to the state Attorney General’s Office for an appointment of a special prosecutor to handle it to make sure there’s no appearance of impropriety or conflict to ensure the public knows the correct legal procedures are being followed. The law requires both the district attorney and the judges in this circuit to be disqualified automatically in these kinds of cases,” he said.

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