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Judge Retires After He Is Accused of Brandishing Gun for ‘Poor Rhetorical Point’

Posted Mar 1, 2012 11:33 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Georgia judge accused of pulling out his gun during courtroom testimony last week has retired from his post.

Judge David Barrett, chief judge of the Enotah Judicial Circuit, told the Dahlonega Nugget he is leaving because he did not want to put his family through the ordeal of an ethics investigation and possible public criticism. "I'm not putting up with that for my family," he said. "It's called public service, not because you're getting rich."

According to an account earlier this week by District Attorney Jeff Langley, Barrett pulled out his gun and told a woman testifying about a domestic assault that she was “killing her case.” According to Langley, Barrett told the woman, “You might as well shoot your lawyer.”

Langley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Barrett was making “a poor rhetorical point.” Judges are allowed to keep concealed weapons on the bench under Georgia law.

The Dahlonega Nugget requested a transcript of the incident but did not get it by press time. Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard told the publication that officials could not view footage of the proceedings because of an apparent “glitch” with the surveillance camera. “It’s a problem that’s been ongoing for a while,” he said.

Langley had praise for the judge after the announced retirement. "I've practiced before him for 13 years and I've learned a lot," he told the Gainesville Times. "He has a quick mind, great legal knowledge and unimpeachable integrity."

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