Legal Ethics

Appeals court OKs new trials for 5 men because judge was in romantic relationship with their counsel

Saying that five men were convicted of serious crimes before a Georgia judge whose impartiality was seriously compromised, a state appellate panel has granted them new trials due to a romantic relationship between the judge and the assistant public defender serving as their legal counsel.

District Attorney Scott Ballard said he will appeal the Georgia Court of Appeals decision concerning the Fayette County convictions, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The three-judge panel also found that the judge violated legal ethics rules by failing to disclose the relationship.

Chief Superior Court Judge Paschal English resigned from the bench in 2010 as an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission was ongoing. The woman with whom he was involved, Kimberly Cornwell, no longer works for the public defender’s office.

See also: “Ex-Bar Prez to Probe for Case Problems from Chief Judge’s Affair with Asst. Public Defender”

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