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Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 5:10am

Judicial Misconduct Cases Soaring

Some legal analysts are wondering what's behind a rash of judicial misconduct cases in Georgia.

The last two years have seen at least 16 judges across the state resign under clouds of scandal or suspicion.

One judge told a criminal defendant he'd have to prove his innocence.

One took his underage son to a strip club.

One was arrested for DUI and charged with voter fraud.

The cases began mounting after a 2008 South Georgia case that got a lot of media attention.

Ben Easterlin of the state Judicial Qualifications Commission says, people now know more about their legal rights against misbehaving judges.

"When they feel like judges are not doing what they're supposed to or that they've been mistreated, they were not as aware previously," Easterlin says. "People are more likely to brave complaints than before."

Another reason might be the sheer number of Georgia judges, more than 1,800.

In rural counties, some judges aren't trained lawyers.

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