Fulton Courthouse Bombshell

Adding fuel to the fire, and giving great ammunition to the Speaker and GOP in the General Assembly is Judge Craig L. Schwall, who emailed his other Fulton County Judges to say Fuller needs to go. (Highlights added for you skimmers)

Fulton Superior Court Judge Craig L. Schwall has told other members of the Fulton bench that Judge Hilton M. Fuller has bungled the Brian G. Nichols murder case and should be replaced.

In an Oct. 11 e-mail sent to all Fulton Superior Court judges, Schwall doesn


  1. Doug Deal says:

    It is powerful stuff, but I am not so sure it is professional. This is definitely things that the legislature should be saying.

    Doesn’t some type of extension of the Supreme Court have the power to discipline judges for improper conduct on the bench?

    I think the founding father’s made the mistake of expecting men of good moral character (much higher than average) to serve on the bench exclusively; people who would follow the law and constitution.

    Sadly, we turned lawyers (who become judges) into a specialized and protected class to the detriment of everyone else in society.

  2. BubbaRich says:

    I think the judiciary in the state already proved they have more brains than the extremely and intentionally stupid legislature in the Genarlow Wilson case.

    It’s interesting that the legislature seems to be building its resume on making sure that the justice system in this state is different for certain defendants. I suspect they were counting on the fact that there was video (that the DA widely distributed!) of the Genarlow Wilson case and based on that they could get even more popular with locking up a kid for 10 years because of oral sex. In this case, they are probably counting on the fact that this guy is obviously guilty of murder, so politically they can say that THIS guy doesn’t deserve a legal defense that might help investigate his actions and motives. Given a few minutes, I’m sure we could find something stupider than the justice system they’ve wasted more money on.

    I’m somewhat indifferent to this case, but I get very suspicious when a group of people starts whining that this guy doesn’t deserve a full defense. Especially when it’s a lot of the same people who wanted to give Genarlow Wilson a mandatory 10-year sentence.

  3. Doug Deal says:

    The sum total mass of brains possessed by the legislature or judiciary is irrelevant.

    What is legal under our system of government is. It is clear we are not worthy of our present form of government, but every day we are getting closer to what we deserve.

  4. Rogue109 says:

    AMEN, Judge Schwall. Fuller is a fossil who should have been left to slumber away his retirement after leaving the DeKalb Superior Court bench.

  5. BubbaRich says:

    Doug and Rogue:

    What, exactly, has Judge Fuller done to make him a “fossil” or to make him worse than “our present form of government”?

    And I’ll need something obviously illegal that he’s done, in addition to something more obviously immoral than the way the legislature targeted Genarlow Wilson. Otherwise it just comes across as Y’ALL don’t like our justice system.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Out present form of government uses checks and balances to restrict the power of one branch over the other two. Each branch has it’s role.

    Fuller is of the mindset that the judiciary can rule by fiat from the bench, the legislature be damned. (This may be the fisrt you have heard of this, but judges are not supposed to be enacting legislation.)

    As for the fossil comment, I did not make it, so I cannot answer that part of your query.

  7. Bill Simon says:

    Nice to see our judges practice due process with each other…

    I like Craig Schwall, BUT has he spent every second observing the trial Fuller is overseeing, or is he relying on the “liberal AJC”‘s reporting to come to his conclusions?

  8. BubbaRich says:

    Who should I trust to determine whether someone is receiving adequate defense on a capital charge? You? The legislature? It’s nice to bombastically pontificate about “eevil judges,” especially on a case like this where you can really get your game on, but how much money would be spent on his defense if he were, say, the son of a prominent legislator? Do we really want different justice systems for the rich and the poor?

    And you didn’t answer my question. I asked what _exactly_ the judge has done, and you just come out with “tried to rule the state by fiat from the bench”. That’s no answer to my question.

    If what he’s done is so obvious, you should be able to state it clearly, so that people like me who really want to know can find it in one place. What specifically did he do wrong?

  9. Rick Day says:

    One more time the group misses the meta question: those statements look as if typed by a public school by-product, who spends most of his typing time ham-fisting NASCAR blogs.

    Does this ‘judge’ really have an education that was not purchased at school named Phoenix?

    Scary, a person with this [lack of] intellect resides over the futures of random citizenry.

    Where are the grammar Nazis when you need them, people?

  10. Rogue109 says:

    Bill Simon: Valid point on me “knowing it all” but not posting my name. Hey, I practice in front of all these guys all the time and it would not be wise for my clients to me to reveal myself.

    I will agree that Paul Howard is going to the “overkill point” with his prosecution (I’ve heard over 400 witnesses on the list, etc.), but Fuller is out of line to just call a halt to the trial and also to order the State (which he can’t do) to provide more for Nichols defense.

    You make the point that Schwall may not have overseen “the trial” that Fuller is conducting…that, in part, is the point: A trial still hasn’t started because Fuller continues to indulge the defense in their preposterous positions.

    Is any one side perfect in this situation? Absolutely not. But Fuller has a reputation for being a pretty poor Judge when in DeKalb and he was not the right person to call when the Fulton Superior Court bench recused themselves.

    BubbaRich: To basically repeat Doug Deal, what Fuller did that was outrageous was threaten to hold the Indigent Defense Counsel in contempt for not providing a bottomless pool of funding for the Nichols defense.

    What we are witnessesing is a defense attempt to make the death penalty even more impossible to reach by draining indigent defense funds to the point that no capital punishment case can ever proceed….and Fuller is allowing his personal feelings to sway the direction of the case and achieve just that result.


  11. dorian says:

    Let me just go ahead and correct everyone. One, the PDSC is going nowhere. Mack Crawford is very well regarded in the legislature. He will fix certain problems and the legislature will give him the tools to do just that. Two, while the attude in the capital defenders’ office is the same as Judge Fuller’s and the Nichols defense in regards to using $$ to break the system, the PDSC is making substantial improvements to cutting the costs of capital defense including training deputy pd’s to be death penalty certified. Note: the head of the capital defenders’ office is NOT answerable to Mr. Crawford (see above note about legislative change). Three, the captial defenders budget is in a different program than the circuit pd’s budget. Money, can’t be shifted back and forth between programs. Four, for reasonas I have explained at naseum in prior posts the number of indictments has very little to do with the cost of the trial. Five, anyone who thinks the amount of money spent on the trial is appropriate is either a) a whiny academic who knows jack squat about the law outside of a textbook, b) is against the death penalty as a matter of principle, or c) knows very little about the law in the first place. Six, the JQC (judicial qualifications commission) could have fuller removed from the bench. Judges have rules of ethics just like lawyers. This isn’t very likely, though, since his biggest problems are being a poor manager, opening his mouth when he should have kept it shut, and being gullible. None of those are violations of ethics, but combined in a high profile case they do make rather interesting politics. Seven, the legislative impeachement is symbolic. The governor could possibly remove him since he appointed him a senior judge in the first place. Also, if a motion to recuse were filed he could be removed from the case. Eight, everyone wants an independent judiciary until they don’t. We have three equal branches of government. Neither branch is perfect. Don’t make exceptions referrendums on the system. It makes very bad laws.

  12. Doug Deal says:

    And for disclosure purposes, I am strongly against the death penalty, except as an option to be excercised by a prisoner sentensed to life who wants to voluntarily end his life.

    I just do not think that doing anything you can to win your argument is good for a free society. There are limitations that each member of the government needs to be held to, whether or not you agree with their positions.

  13. Chris says:


    I’m inclined to accept your argument, but let me ask:

    Usama Bin Laden? The OKW and Imperial Staff tried in Nuremberg and Toyko? Saddam Hussein?

    Cases like Cory Maye’s in Miss, have me leaning towards opposition of the death penalty, mainly because I distrust lawyers, distrust politicians, and really distrust lawyers who are politicians.

  14. juliobarrios says:

    Bill Simon:

    Do you spend every second observing an elected official before you pass judgement on them?

  15. Doug Deal says:


    I am referring to criminals and the like. No matter how certain one is of evidence, there is always the chance of a mistake, and death is irrevocable.

    In the case of UBL and Sadam (before he was rendered harmless) I actually support assisination as an act of war. A valid tactic in warfare is the elimination of command and control. Killing UBL is part of that valid warfare strategy. Plus, if removing the “strong man” removes the enemy’s resolve to wage war, it would save a great number of friendly lives.

  16. Bill Simon says:


    I’m not an elected official…I’m a common man. People don’t expect me to adhere to higher standards.

    People DO expect elected officials to act in a manner that demonstrates more calm when looking at a situation. If they are not capable of doing that, then what kind of role model does that make for the children to follow?

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