2nd UPDATE: Ethics Complaint Against Judge Amanda Williams, ‘Tyrannical Partiality’

Glynn County Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams has been charged with ethical misconduct by the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission. According to the Associated Press, the 12-count complaint accuses Williams of overstepping her authority “by jailing drug court defendants indefinitely if they missed court or relapsed.”

You may remember the word “indefinitely” from  an earlier post about Judge Williams and her drug court.

The Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission has the power to remove Judges from office. Here’s hoping.

UPDATE: Bill Rankin of the AJC has lots of details. Among them, this: “The commission’s complaint also questions whether Williams violated another judicial code of conduct that says judges should avoid nepotism and exercise impartiality. It notes that on a number of occasions Williams appointed her daughter to serve as a guardian ad litem in cases before her. She also signed an order prepared by her daughter-in-law in a case before her, the complaint said. She also presided over cases in cases defended by a lawyer who was a law partner with Williams’ son, and the two men rented space from Williams in a building she owns, the commission said.

Wow. Go read the whole thing.

2nd UPDATE: Jim Walls at Atlanta Unfiltered has the actual complaint (pdf) and lists the instances of “tyrannical partiality” Williams is accused of. In case you were wondering, tyrannical partiality is a no-no.

26 comments

    • LukeSkywalkersTauntaun says:

      Last I looked, the Judicial Qualifications Commission had about a 100k budget to monitor all of the judges in all 159 counties. Do the math.

  1. Kevin Gough says:

    Whoa !!! At least let the Judge respond to the charges before y’all pronounce sentence upon her. Why the rush to judgment here? Last I checked, we still presume people innocent. At this point, the allegations are just that — allegations.

  2. Kevin Gough says:

    Did I miss the trial, Calypso? Last I checked, we give folks a trial, and a decent meal, before we publicly execute them. The removal of a superior court judge, an elected official in Georgia, is a very serious matter and not one to be undertaken lightly. The unprecedented scrutiny to which this judge has been subjected should trouble anyone concerned about maintaining the independence and integrity of our judiciary.

    • Baker says:

      Listen to that radio show that I linked to above and you’ll know why this is so open and shut. As Doug said above, and it particularly implies in rural areas, judges have a ton of power with not nearly as much oversight as they should. Judicial oversight is pretty far down the list of state budget priorities but maybe it should get a second look.

    • Actually Kevin, the MOST appalling thing is that any “scrutiny ” of Judges is mostly unprecedented. We maintain integrity in our judiciary ONLY by subjecting Judges to scrutiny. I know you consider Judge Williams a friend, but court transcripts indicate the “tyrannical partiality” of which she is accused.
      I’ve heard she’s going to fight these charges in court, rather than resign. That will be fun to follow.

  3. Kevin Gough says:

    I’ve listened to the radio program several times, and I personally know — or know of — most everyone referenced in it, including the folks who were mentioned but not identified by name, and I was appalled at the grossly inaccurate and misleading statements contained therein. That was a hit piece, plain and simple, and utterly lacking in objectivity.

  4. inlimine says:

    Sounds like someone needs to resign for “health reasons.” Do the words “Brooks Blitch” ring a bell? I hope they keep uncovering more and more of this stuff. It’s wildly rampant in the rural counties, especially. Sadly it takes years to bring it to light.

  5. Kevin Gough says:

    What is sad is that a single very vindictive, very wealthy South Georgia Republican who thought he was above the law for decades could orchestrate the removal of the judge he blamed, rightly or wrongly, for ensuring that he was brought to justice. The most courageous, and fearless judge in Southeast Georgia has been humbled — but that should hardly be cause for celebration.

  6. Kevin Gough says:

    Details? Joe Iannicelli, Chief Executive Officer of Aquafine Corporation, is a genius, an inventor with more than fifty patents to his credit, and an entrepreneur. He lives on Jekyll Island, Georgia. He has been active in Georgia politics for many years. He is a former chairman of the Glynn County Board of Education. He served ten years on the Governor’s Research Council for Jekyll Island. As one newspaper put it: “He has plenty of friends . . . including many in high places.” Joe Iannicelli has openly sought to get Judge Amanda Williams off the bench for several years because he blames her, rightly or wrongly, for a ruling against him concerning an ex-wife’s alimony claim.

    Before deleting the post, perhaps you should take a look at the website http://joeiannicelli.com/, which even includes photographs of the protest orchestrated around the Glynn County Courthouse. The signs carried by the protesters reference the website. Then there is another website, http://www.glynncounty.com/clunkers.html, which sets forth an early version of allegations against Judge Williams. It sets forth what appears to be Joe Ianicelli’s version of his ex-wife’s more than thirty year fight to have him held in contempt of court for failure to pay alimony. A less extreme version of those allegations is included in a Georgia Times Union article about him: http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2010-09-06/story/brunswicks-mr-joe-just-won%E2%80%99t-stop-inventing#ixzz1dPWgyjME.

    This website, http://www.coastalviewpoint.com/jaw.html, connects Joe Iannicelli with Ira Glass and NPR. Then there is also Iannicelli’s December 2009 video, also on the internet at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAspOFW7vW0. Then there is another yet another youtube video, apparently by one of his employees, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAs8S0LxNRE&feature=related.

    Joe Ianicelli’s friend, attorney Doug Alexander, managed the unsuccessful 2010 campaign of Mary Helen Moses against Amanda Williams, during which many of the allegations against Judge Williams were very publicly aired. Judge Williams won re-election with a land slide victory, but the campaign to remove her from the bench continues unabated.

    Ironically, the original allegations made by Joe Iannicelli are not among those brought against Judge Williams by the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

    • Yes, how ironic. Look, if you follow politics long enough you’ll know that even the true Saints out there have their detractors. You’ll also know that even the scum of the earth are sometimes opposed by other scumbags. But that doesn’t mean they both can’t be scum.

      I don’t really give a crap about whether some wealthy inhabitant of Jekyll Island got a fair divorce settlement or not. What I do care about is when a judge is exceeding his or her authority and legislating from the bench, and when innocent humans get caught up in the cross fire.

      As far as I’m concerned, you can throw both Ianicelli and Amanda Williams to the wolves. This isn’t about deciding which one of them is good and which one is bad – they can both be bad but only one of them is in a position of power where they are hurting Georgians.

      • Ken says:

        Well stated and cuts to the heart of the matter.

        If Ianicelli were a judge who jailed people indefinitely, then it would be relevant. As it stands, the complaints against Williams seem to have merit.

  7. DTK says:

    @KevinGough

    Which counts in the JQC report do you dispute? And do you dispute them based on the facts, based on the JQC’s interpretation of the applicable judicial canons, or a mix of both?

  8. Kevin Gough says:

    I don’t represent Judge Williams, DTK, nor am I her spokesperson, Calypso, and I would remind you that she has yet to respond to the complaint which was filed against her earlier this week. And it is somewhat disingenuous, DTK, to ask anyone to provide a detailed response to an 83 paragraph complaint in the time or space allotted here. Why not let her file her response, and then we can address the portions of that response which you dispute?

    • Calypso says:

      Kevin, don’t you get that overwhelming feeling that you’re pissing up the proverbial rope here? This forum is not filled with the same sheep you usually try to pacify.

      Too many thinkers and too much common sense scattered amongst us all for you to deal with.

  9. DTK says:

    @KevinGough

    So, in other words, we should just talk about a conspiracy where a well-connected GOP businessman is bringing down a Superior Court judge, rather than the facts and law listed in the JQC complaint? Okay.

  10. Kevin Gough says:

    Sorry, “thinkers”, for failing to bow down to your “superior intellect.” And excuse me for having the audacity to remind you that folks are still innocent until proven guilty. What’s YOUR agenda here, Calypso?

    As for drug court, where were the assistant district attorneys, defense lawyers, and deputy sheriffs when so many alleged misdeeds were allegedly committed in open court? What sheriff would hold someone in solitary confinement indefinitely and for months on end, unable to speak even to their attorney, without a written order having been entered? What defense lawyer would stand for that? What appeals court sanctioned that conduct? Litigants have the same right to appeal here that they have in Atlanta. Call me crazy, but there has to be more to the story than we’ve heard so far.

    • Calypso says:

      Since I live and work 300 miles from Williams’s area, my only ‘agenda’ is to encourage the system to rid itself of judges like her.

      Innocent until proven guilty only goes for a case tried within a court of law, not the court of public opinion. In the court of public opinion, the majority find her guilty.

      I feel sorry for you if your day job is to run interference for her and put a smiley face on her PR efforts.

  11. AntebellumAyn says:

    Let me see Joe Ianicelli aged 80+ who held a county Bd of Education post a DECADE ago is so much more powerful than a sitting 20 year incumbent Superior Court Judge whose court covers 5 counties. Silly me. I didn’t think this was about political power. Thought it was about objective professionalism. I’d like to see Judge Williams have her day in court but not in her court.

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