Legal Ethics

Chief Judge Is Privately Reprimanded re DUI Arrest That Led to Reckless Driving Conviction

A South Georgia judge has been issued a private reprimand concerning a May 2011 incident in which he was charged in the town of Leslie with driving under the influence, having an open container and speeding at 63 mph in a 45-mph zone.

Chief Judge Rucker Smith of the Southwestern Judicial Circuit refused a field sobriety test and eventually pleaded guilty to reckless driving, a lesser charge, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

He self-reported the incident to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and apologized.

In a written opinion, the commission explained that it crafted a penalty that “attempted to balance its responsibility to the public to insure an honorable and independent judiciary with its responsibility to deal fairly with a judge who complied with all requests of the commission and accepted responsibility for his actions.”

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