Catoosa County Magistrate Judge Anthony Peters didn’t hear good news today from the Georgia Supreme Court. They have upheld the recommendation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission to have him immediately and permanently removed from office. To catch you up to speed, he admitted to smoking pot, caused a ruckus in the Catoosa County Courthouse after a heated argument with his boss, Chief Magistrate Sonny Caldwell, and various other incidents.
An excerpt of the Supremes’ statement from Jim Galloway:
Peters admitted much of the misconduct at a hearing in April before the Judicial Qualifications Commission but said he felt he’d been disciplined “enough” by having been placed on paid administrative leave since June 16, 2010.
“Notwithstanding Judge Peters’ personal belief that he has already received appropriate discipline, the record reveals that Judge Peters has not sought treatment for his admitted drug problems and has done nothing to show that he has any ability to live up to the high standard of conduct expected of members of the judiciary in Georgia,” the opinion says.
“Instead, he spent his time while on administrative leave publicly disparaging the Chief Magistrate Judge and the Sheriff of Catoosa County and endangering the life of a confidential informant by exposing his identity. Such willful misconduct is clearly ‘prejudicial to the administration of justice [and] brings the judicial office into disrepute.’”
“The public deserves much more from its judicial officers,” today’s opinion says, “and those judicial officers who cannot give the public what it deserves – confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary – do not deserve to continue to hold judicial office.”
It’s unfortunate to see someone’s problems, especially one who is a public official, unfold in public. It’s also unfortunate that the public is subjected to this drama. I wish the judge well, and I hope that he and the county can move past this quickly.