It appears that the best place in the State to skirt the edge of the law is the judicial chambers of a Georgia court. If your crime catches the attention of the Judicial Qualification Commission and they investigate first, then you might lose your job. But that’s about it. Brian K. Finnicum, the Editor of the News Observer in Blue Ridge, Georgia, has a piece up in today’s paper describing how JQC has refused to release any information about former Superior Court Judge Harry Doss to DA Danny Porter, effectively shutting down his investigation for what may be criminlnal conduct.
According to Mr. Finnicum, Danny Poter, who was appointed as a special prosecutor to investigate whether former Judge Doss was involved in criminal activity, has closed his investigation after the JQC refused to provide him or his investigators with any information.
When Mr. Porter began investigating Judge Doss, the JQC told him that it would turn no information over to him voluntarily and would resist any of his efforts to obtain it voluntarily. So, Mr. Porter has packed up his tools and is refocusing on Gwinnett County. He said, “I have my own circuit to deal with. I entered into [the investigation] with the assurances from the investigaor that I would have cooperation, and that didn’t happen. I don’t have time to do anything further.”
From the perspective of someone who represents people who have been convicted of crimes, this whole system is disturbing. I already wrote about it last week.
The things that JQC chooses to sweep under the rug may be vital to people whose lives were impacted, perhaps ruined, by judicial decisionmaking. There may be reversible error at stake in both civil and criminal cases. A judge who may have committed a crime might have had an incentive to come down hard on criminal defendants in certain cases to please local law enforcement.
Not to mention the horrible double standard. My clients, whether accused or convicted, lose everything. They lose their job. They lose their freedom. Some lose licenses. Their reputations are often irretrievably trashed. And the whole think is officiated by Georgia judges. Yet, those same judges get punished by other judges, and the whole thing is suppressed, not only from citizens and the media, but from an elected District Attorney charged with investigating and prosecuting crimes.
And even if these people are innocent of crimes, the whole thing hurts the judiciary and the system as a whole. And it was bad enough before this all started.