Trials & Litigation

For 7th Time Since 2010, a Chief Ga. Superior Court Judge Steps Down Following Ethics Probe

One of Georgia’s longest-serving state superior court judges is stepping down, after almost 32 years on the bench, after a judicial ethics investigation.

However, Chief Coweta Judicial Circuit Judge William F. Lee Jr. said he is ready to retire and had simply decided it was time to hang up his gavel, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A filing with the state supreme court said Lee had been under investigation for claimed misconduct but the matter is now concluded.

The subject of the probe against Lee was alleged improper communications with lawyers, entering orders without notification to all parties and counsel and assigning himself to some pending cases on which he would not otherwise had sat, according to the filing.

Lee is the seventh chief state superior court judge to step down since 2010 after ethics issues were raised, the newspaper says. Among the others are Kenneth Nix, who resigned in 2010 after admitting to a local newspaper that he “flicked” the bottoms of two women from the district attorney’s office who sat on his lap for photos; Paschal English, who resigned in 2010 when it came out that he was having an affair with an assistant public defender working in his courtroom; Amanda Williams, who was accused of treating defendants in her drug court abusively and locking some up without adequate cause, resigned effective Jan. 2; and David Barrett resigned in March in the wake of accusations that he pulled out his gun during courtroom testimony.

“I’m 69 years old and I’ve been a judge for almost 32 years,” he told the newspaper. “I’m tired and I’m ready. I’m ready to go. This is my decision.”

Updated 5:26 p.m. to note other Georgia judges who have resigned.

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