Blue Ridge judge resigns as chair of oversight commission

Judge Brenda Weaver
Judge Brenda Weaver

A north Georgia judge has resigned as the chair of a judicial oversight agency.

Brenda Weaver emailed members of Georgia's Judicial Qualifications Commission at 2:30 today to announce she is leaving her post. Weaver, a superior court judge in the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, has been criticized by first amendment groups for her role in the arrest of a newspaper publisher.

In June, Weaver asked her local district attorney to indict Mark Thomason, the publisher of the Fannin Focus. Thomason had issued a subpoena for Weaver's publicly funded bank account as part of a civil trial that didn't involve Weaver. She believed he needed to give her notice before filing the subpoena with a bank.

Thomason had also made a records request for checks flowing from Pickens County's general fund to Weaver's operating account, which he said he believed were cashed illegally. Weaver said Thomason knew this was a lie. Thomason disagreed.

As the arrest drew national media attention, Weaver requested that Thomason's charges be dropped. The district attorney complied. But Thomason filed a complaint against Weaver with the JQC, even though Weaver happened to be the chair of that agency.

"I sincerely appreciate the opportunity I was given to serve as a member and as the Chairperson of this commission," Weaver wrote in an email today. "The work of this commission is extremely important and nothing and no one should distract from its duties and responsibilities."

Weaver said she wants to focus more time to running the drug court and the veteran's court in her circuit, which consists of Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties.

"Judge Brenda Weaver is a true public servant who has given many years of service to the people of our state," JQC Commissioner Richard Hyde said in a statement. "She has shown outstanding leadership by putting the interest of the public above her own."

This is a developing story. For more, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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