The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Columbus judge who oversees a state commission that has investigated ethics complaints against judges, leading to a number of high-profile resignations, will step down as chair of the agency on July 1.
Chief Superior Court Judge John Allen said he will continue serving on the seven-member Judicial Qualifications Commission, which is comprised of judges, lawyers and lay people. The commission is soon expected to vote on who will succeed Allen as chair, said Jeff Davis, the commission’s director.
Since the beginning of this year, four chief Superior Court judges have resigned in the face of investigations by the judicial regulatory agency: Amanda Williams of Brunswick, William F. Lee Jr. of Newnan and David Barrett and Lynn Akeley-Alderman, both from the Enotah Judicial Circuit in North Georgia. A number of other judges who found themselves at the center of investigations have resigned as well over the past few years.
Allen said he was stepping down as chair out of concern that the flurry of events of the past two years would lead people to believe the commission “was cloaked with the imprimatur” of only one person.
“We have, collectively, navigated fairly turbulent waters over the past couple of years,” Allen wrote in a letter sent to fellow commission members. “The commission, as a whole, certainly deserves the credit for operating with steadfast integrity and resolve while negotiating wrenching decisions.”