Constitutional Law

Ga. Judge Who Retired After 'This American Life' Ignited Ethics Firestorm Now Faces Criminal Probe

A longtime Georgia jurist ended a legal ethics case by agreeing last month to step down from the bench, effective Jan. 2.

But now-retired former Chief Judge Amanda Williams of the five-county Brunswick Circuit is being criminally investigated by a special prosecutor, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

She was accused of treating defendants in her drug court abusively and locking some up without adequate cause, as well as making false statements and showing favoritism to some. A radio program about Williams and her court on This American Life ignited a legal ethics firestorm over that apparently resulted in the criminal probe.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard was appointed yesterday as a special prosecutor to look into Williams’ conduct by the state attorney general, Sam Olens, after the Brunswick district attorney recused himself.

The newspaper article doesn’t include any comment from Williams, who has declined to discuss the ethics case.

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