A Judicial Qualifications Commission hearing for Douglas County Probate Judge Christina Peterson planned for Friday was postponed Thursday after a state Supreme Court ruling in another similar case earlier this week.
Peterson, a first-term judge, faces 50 charges from the JQC for misconduct, including several alleged offenses that took place before she took the bench in January of 2021.
Peterson's attorney, Lester Tate, said some, if not all, of the charges against Peterson are likely to be dropped because of the Supreme Court of Georgia's decision in the case against state Court of Appeals Judge Christian Coomer.
In the Coomer case, the Supreme Court ruled that the "Code of Judicial Conduct plainly applies only to conduct by judges and judicial candidates while they are judges or judicial candidates."
“The 68-page ruling in the Coomer case explicitly ended JQC jurisdiction over pre-judicial conduct and clarified what conduct is potentially sanctionable,” Tate wrote in an email to the Sentinel Friday afternoon. “It also went further to point out that, in most cases, the JQC will have to prove 'bad faith' and not merely that a judge made mistake.
“I anticipate the new ruling will affect most, if not all of the charges they brought against Judge Peterson, making them difficult if not impossible to pursue. These are legal positions that we have long held and advocated for. We also, of course, continue to maintain our position that she has done nothing wrong at any time before or after she was sworn in as a judge.”
The state Supreme Court had twice denied a motion by the JQC to suspend Peterson while awaiting a hearing on the ethics charges.
The Supreme Court also previously declined to dismiss any of the 50 counts, which is believed to be a record number of complaints.
Judge Robert Burney, the presiding officer of the Hearing Panel for the JQC, agreed that a postponement was needed while both sides plot their next moves.
“The Hearing Panel concurs that a postponement is appropriate,” Burney wrote in a notice of postponement Thursday.
No new date was announced for a new hearing.
Sorry, there are no recent results for popular commented articles.