Legal Ethics

Longtime Ga. Judge Facing Disciplinary Case After 'This American Life' Broadcast Will Retire


Faced with new charges in a sweeping ethics case, a longtime Georgia judge whose allegedly displayed favoritism toward some in her courtroom and abusive and overly punitive behavior toward others has agreed to step down.

Chief Judge Amanda Williams of Brunswick, who oversees the superior court drug programs in Camden, Glynn and Wayne counties, said in a letter to the state governor that she will retire Jan. 2, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She was first elected to the bench in 1990.

Initially accused by the Judicial Qualifications Commission of indefinitely detaining defendants and preventing them from contacting their family members and lawyers, among other charges, Williams was hit with new legal ethics counts earlier this month. The new accusations included a claim that she continued to hear cases in which the attorney representing her before the JQC appeared in her court.

Williams’ conduct became an issue after the airing of the “Very Tough Love” episode of the radio program This American Life, which featured a number of cases in her court.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ga. Judge Defends Drug Court Practices After Critical Episode of ‘This American Life’”

ABAJournal.com: “Judge Hit in Radio Show Is Accused in Ethics Complaint of Nepotism, Rudeness, ‘Baby Momma’ Jailing”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Brunswick judge facing new charges”

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