Panel to issue recommendation on Catoosa judge

Panel to issue recommendation on Catoosa judge

April 15th, 2011 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local - Breaking News

Magistrate Judge Anthony Peters listens during part of a trial where the state was seeking to remove him from bench for erratic behavior. Contributed Photo by Vino Wong/ajc.com

Members of the state watchdog agency that investigates complaints of judicial misconduct will consider two days of testimony about a Catoosa County judge before recommending what, if any, punishment is warranted.

Catoosa County Magistrate Anthony Peters has been on trial for two days on 13 counts of judicial misconduct. The Judicial Qualifications Commission charged him in February.

The panel - four appointed members and a judge - will make a recommendation to the Georgia Supreme Court about whether Peters should be removed from the bench, suspended or allowed back to work with conditions.

During closing arguments, Peters' attorney Chris Townley pled with the JQC to give the judge a second chance.

"I'm not minimizing his counts," Townley told the commission. "We've seen many people that have fallen that now have gotten back up and are in positions of respect."

But Joe Hendricks Jr., a prosecutor from the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, pointed out the hearing isn't about a criminal defendant but a judicial officer representing the state.

"This isn't about Judge Peters," Hendricks said, banging on the podium. "It's not about whether he's got his life straight now. It's about the damage he's done to this system."

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.