Removal of judge a mystery

Removal of judge a mystery

June 17th, 2010 by Andy Johns in News

RINGGOLD, Ga. - A Catoosa County magistrate judge who filed a complaint about a fellow judge and feared retaliation was removed from the courthouse by law enforcement personnel Wednesday and no one would say why.

Magistrate Judge Anthony Peters was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, according to Catoosa County Commission Chairman Keith Greene. Mr. Greene said he could not discuss why Judge Peters was taken into custody because it was a personnel matter.

Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers did not answer calls or return messages Wednesday.

Witnesses said more than a dozen cars from Ringgold police, the Georgia State Patrol and the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office swarmed the courthouse just before 3 p.m.

About 7 p.m. Wednesday a clerk at the Catoosa County Jail said Judge Peters was not in the jail but would not show the booking log to reveal whether he had been booked or released on bond.

Ringgold police, the Georgia State Patrol, jailers and staff at the magistrate's and sheriff's offices declined to comment and deferred to the sheriff. A spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said he did not know anything about the arrest.

A month earlier, Judge Peters had filed a complaint against Chief Magistrate Sonny Caldwell and written that he feared a backlash.

A copy of a complaint to the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press is signed by Judge Peters and dated May 14. Attempts to reach the commission after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday were unsuccessful.

The complaint raises questions of campaign finances and misuse of county time and property.

"I'm scared he will retaliate against me," Mr. Peters wrote in the report.

Judge Peters had just lost his job as Ringgold city judge on Monday night, according to Ringgold Mayor Joe Barger. The mayor said officials were "told some things" on Monday and the council voted unanimously to relieve Judge Peters from the post immediately.

Mr. Barger would not say why the city took action, and he did not want to discuss the reasons why Mr. Peters "had changed."

"I don't know what happened but the past memories I have of him are very honorable," the mayor said.