An ex-Glynn County judge found herself on the other side of the law this week.
Former Brunswick Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Amanda Williams was booked and released in Fulton County on the two charges she is facing for allegedly lying during a noncriminal investigation into accusations of ethics violations.
Williams turned herself into the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office shortly after 9 a.m. Monday and was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond about an hour later, according to the Fulton County Clerk of Courts office.
Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit signed the order for Williams’ bond on June 16. After additional fees, the total amount paid was $5,700, according to court documents.
Williams was indicted by a Fulton County Grand Jury June 3 on charges she made false statements and violated her oath of office during an investigation into alleged misconduct by the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission.
A 2011 report from the commission accused Williams, among other things, of acting with “tyrannical partiality” from the bench, failing to remove herself from cases in which her family members were involved as lawyers and showing favoritism from the bench during drug court proceedings.
She resigned from the bench in January 2012, avoiding a hearing before the Judicial Qualifications Commission, and agreed not to run for elected office again.
Both her critics and supporters thought the resignation was likely the end of the saga, but the state Attorney General appointed the Fulton County District Attorney’s office as special prosecutor in an investigation to determine whether criminal charges applied.
After nearly three years, and just months before the statute of limitations was set to expire, Williams was indicted by a grand jury.
The indictment claims Williams lied during the commission’s investigation about giving a drug court participant an indefinite sentence in 2008 in which the woman in question was not allowed to have contact with her lawyer or family members.
Williams has been practicing as a lawyer in Brunswick since her resignation from the bench.
If she is convicted, the state’s bar association has said it will recommend disbarment.
Friends and supporters of Williams have said she was a tough taskmaster who often made the lawyers who appeared before her better by holding them to high standards.
They also have said there is no excuse for the three-year delay between when the Fulton County District Attorney’s investigation began and when Williams was charged.
Williams spent 20 years on the bench and eventually rose to chief judge. She also oversaw the circuit’s drug court, which was the largest in the state at the time.
Drug court is designed to let some offenders avoid prison if they become drug-free.