Trials & Litigation

Judge Tells Ethics Panel That Alleged Gun Episode, Pot Use and More Shouldn't Keep Him Off the Bench

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A Georgia magistrate judge is fighting to keep his job despite ethics charges that describe a panoply of alleged misconduct ranging from marijuana use to playing with a gun in a judge’s chambers.

Magistrate Anthony Peters of Catoosa County and his lawyer, Chris Townley, are arguing at Peters’ ethics trial before the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission that his claimed conduct has been exaggerated and what did actually happen isn’t all that serious, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

For instance, Peters used marijuana to wean himself off of opiates to which he became addicted after a 2005 all-terrain vehicle accident required him to take prescription painkillers, the article says. The year was a tough one for Peters: He also found his father’s body after he committed suicide.

Although court staff testified that they had become fearful of Peters in recent years as he became angry and confrontational, he and Townley argued that there was little, if any, concrete evidence of threatening behavior on his part, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Peters is accused of pointing a gun to his own head in the chambers of another magistrate judge, but said that didn’t happen.

A magistrate clerk said he asked her, one day, if she was afraid of him.

“Look at you, Anthony, with your head shaved and your eyebrows shaved,” magistrate clerk Becky Bates said she responded. “You look like a serial killer.”

Additional coverage: “Put on Leave, Magistrate Judge Is Reportedly Arrested After Courthouse Standoff” “Judge Accused of Courthouse Gun Display, Home Invasion in Far-Reaching Ethics Complaint”

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