A personal relationship that developed on Facebook apparently sparked the end of a 17-year judicial career for Mountain Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Ernest H. Woods III.
Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Brian M. Rickman said his office received inquiries from the JQC about Woods and the Facebook communications, documented by a series of e-mails that landed on the DA’s desk last October when relatives of a defendant in drug court came in to complain that Woods was unfairly holding their son in jail. The family presented printed copies of 33 pages of e-mails from April to September in 2009 between the judge and 35-year-old Tara Elizabeth Black of Clarkesville, who had been involved with their son. The e-mails showed a developing personal relationship between Black and the judge. In the e-mails, Black prevailed on the judge for his help with her friend’s case in drug court — where Woods presided — as well as a case of her own in which she was accused of theft by deception for not making payments on a loan.
While Woods calls it “a retirement,” I call it shameful and criminal. And with his resignation, any further investigation from these guys will stop. Adios muchacho.