Legal Ethics

Ga. Judge Takes Theft Plea and Resigns; 8 State Jurists Left Office This Year After Conduct Probes

For the eighth time this year, a Georgia judge who had been the subject of a misconduct investigation has left the bench.

This time, it was Shirley Wise, a probate judge in Camden County, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. She resigned after pleading guilty to two theft counts and violation of her oath of office, the newspaper was told by District Attorney Brian Rickman.

Wise got seven years of probation, was fined $1,000 and paid $5,500 in restitution.

The plea ended a Judicial Qualifications Commission ethics case against Wise that had been scheduled to go to trial Monday.

As previous news coverage details, Wise was accused of taking bribes from a county vendor and pre-signing marriage license applications. Instead of performing weddings herself, which was part of her job as a probate judge, she referred couples to more expensive for-profit wedding chapels, the JQC contended in ethics charges.

Earlier coverage:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Judge accused of taking bribes, pre-signing marriage licenses”

Daily Report: “JQC accuses Camden County probate judge of bribery”

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