Thu., August 26, 2010 9:10am (EDT)

Judicial Misconduct Cases Soaring
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA, Ga.  —  
Georgia judges have been turning in their gavels lately in a rash of scandal and suspicion.  (photo Brian Turner)
Georgia judges have been turning in their gavels lately in a rash of scandal and suspicion. (photo Brian Turner)
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.