Nov. 10, 2011

Judge Amanda Williams Faces Charges

Ira writes:

Many listeners have written to us since our episode about Georgia Judge Amanda Williams, asking what ever happened to her. Did she face any consequences for the things we documented on our program?

Yesterday, Georgia's Judicial Qualifications Commission filed formal charges against her. The twelve counts include a number of things reported in our episode: sending away inmates for indefinite detention, jailing Charlie McCullough for 14 days for exercising his right to contest a drug screen, and using "rude, abusive, or insulting language" with individuals appearing before her.

The JQC also accuses Judge Williams of sending Lindsey Dills into solitary confinement for an indefinite period, without the ability to consult with a lawyer, despite the fact that the court knew her history of suicide attempts. (She later attempted suicide while in solitary custody.) It accuses Judge Williams of issuing this order from her chambers, without the public or a court reporter present. Judge Williams told the JQC that she had not issued this order, but the investigators apparently found a recording of her returning to her courtroom and declaring: "On Lindsey Dills, she is not to have any telephone privileges and no one is to contact or visit her except [drug court counselor] Gail Kelly! Nobody! Total restriction!"

Generally what happens in these cases is that the judge is shown the charges and given the option to step down, rather than face them. Judge Williams apparently chose not to step down, so charges were filed. If this proceeds to a trial, it will happen in January.

These are just accusations of course, not findings of guilt. Judge Williams has not responded to reporters' inquiries yet about the charges.

News coverage about the charges. Another story. AP story.

The actual charges, in full.