- Associated Press - Saturday, May 6, 2017

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) - More than five years after the former chief judge of the Brunswick Judicial Court resigned with felony charges over her head, the Fulton County district attorney has dropped those charges against her.

The Florida Times-Union reports (https://bit.ly/2pN5lir ) Superior Court Judge Henry M. Newkirk signed an order dismissing the charges against former Glynn County Judge Amanda F. Williams on Thursday at the request of District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr.

Howard’s office presented evidence to the Fulton County grand jury that indicted Williams in June 2015 on a charge of making false statements and another of violating her oath by making false statements. Had she been convicted of lying to the state agency that investigated her for misconduct back in 2011, she faced prison and possible disbarment.

Williams told the newspaper she is relieved the charges were dropped but never thought that a conviction was possible.

“My lawyers looked at the indictment and said there’s no crime here,” Williams said.

Even if there had been an actual crime the indictment was technically flawed and could not have been the basis for a trial, Williams said.

The case had “rocked on for two years,” and had gone through four judges before the dismissal, she said.

The dismissal comes more than five years after Williams resigned from the bench as the Judicial Qualifications Commission was set to conduct a hearing on 14 charges of violations of judicial ethics. Had she not resigned, the commission could have sought to have the state Supreme Court remove her from the bench.

Among other things, the charges accused Williams of rude, abusive and insulting language to defendants in drug court, giving favorable treatment in court to her daughter, a lawyer, and sentencing a man to two weeks in jail for challenging the results of a drug test. She was also accused of revoking a woman’s custody of her children without a hearing.

Williams spent 20 years on the bench and rose to chief judge of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, gaining a reputation for being exceptionally tough on attorneys and defendants. She also oversaw Georgia’s largest drug court, designed to let some drug offenders avoid prison if they become clean.

Once she left the bench, Williams, 68, went back to practicing law in the port city of Brunswick. Williams said she is back doing plaintiffs’ work, usually with her son Nathan, and a lot of civil litigation and bankruptcy. She also does some estate work but only in large estates, she said.


Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, https://www.jacksonville.com

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