Judicial Switcheroo Becomes Judicial Switcherwon’t…

The Daily Report has learned of a deal whereby the sole candidate for a Paulding County Superior Court Judgeship would withdraw from the race after ethical concerns about the qualification process. Looks like the Judicial Qualifications Commission put its foot down.

Dallas attorney Elizabeth Osborne Williams was the only person to qualify to run against her father, Paulding County Superior Court Judge James Osborne, during qualifying week. Judge Osborne later announced he was withdrawing his candidacy, effectively leaving the seat to his daughter.

“…the judicial disciplinary agency has agreed not pursue ethics charges against Osborne or his daughter, Dallas attorney Elizabeth Osborne Williams. The JQC also would not seek to bar her from seeking another judicial post in the future, the sources said. The JQC acts as a watchdog with jurisdiction over both the state’s judges and judicial candidates. It has the power to remove a judge from the bench for ethical infractions, with the approval of the state Supreme Court.”

Friday afternoons are usually reserved for bad news. Not this time, though. Have a great weekend.


  1. xdog says:

    It’s good to see at least one state regulatory commission that doesn’t seem to have trouble doing a solid job. The JQC has taken down something like 40 judges over the last few years for things like pocketing fees, hitting on prosecutors, pre-signing warrants.

    I read where the JQC authority derives from a constitutional amendment. Normally I’m against ad hoc amendments but if that’s what it takes to get the Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission functional and put a little fear into candidates and office holders, I’d be in favor.

  2. South Fulton Guy says:

    Bravo for the JQC. Great to see some entities have ethical cahones. I would have thought that the Chief State Elections Officer, Secretary of State Brian Kemp would have required that qualifying be reopened for that race or is it just me picking on Brian???

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Accordingly to the AJC, the lone candidate after qualifying is over withdrawing is already covered: Deal gets to appoint the judge.

  3. objective says:

    when able, the JQC has tended to do well, esp because the power to influence disbarment follows the power to embarass and crush the professional potential and reputation of the alleged wrongdoer. but it was just a short handful of years ago that the JQC was poorly staffed and underfunded, and unable to do its job well at all. small but not insignificant funding increases, i believe, combined with some improved staffing (if memory serves) led to improved enforcement. remember, though, that the JQC has the ability to keep all its investigations quiet and allow folks to resign rather than face public scrutiny, embarassment, and charges. maybe not fully transparent, but effective for at least getting the resignation. if the ethics/transparency commission had any sort of parallel power- to limit the civil/political/professional rights of those candidates and officeholders found in violation of specified ethics codes- they may be more effective. but i don’t believe they have that power- and the Ethics Committees of the chambers may? but they would never use it, it would seem. also, if officeholders cared as much about their reputation…

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