NAACP calls for judge's dismissal - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

NAACP calls for judge's dismissal

April 12, 2004

Dawson-- A week ago, Municipal Court Judge Henry Williams sentenced a man to 11-and-a-half years in jail, or pay a heavy fine, for contempt of court over his trashy yard.

The NAACP says the sentence is excessive, and Williams should be fired.

Last Monday, 50-year-old Willie McCray was sentenced to 4,260 days for repeatedly ignoring court orders to clean up his Dawson yard. NAACP leaders say that is wrong. "Excessive. It don't fit the crime," said NAACP President Ezekiel Holley. "It is a travesty of justice."

In a letter to Dawson City Manager Barney Parnacott, the NAACP calls Municipal Court Judge Henry Williams behavior on the bench "mean, nasty, petty, and vindictive to human beings," further calling for Williams to be "immediately removed for his position."

Ten years ago, the NAACP tried to get Judge Williams fired. "There was a petition circulating in Terrell County that Judge Williams was unfair, that he was rude and he was insensitive. There was a disparity in sentencing. Some of the same issues have surfaced all over again."

Another watch dog group is filing a separate complaint against Judge Williams with the Judicial Qualifications Commission, but for another case heard the same night as McCray's. In that case, a 17-year-old was sentenced to six months' house arrest for disorderly conduct.

"This young man at one point, 17-years-old with mental health issues, is told if he didn't obey his grandmother he was going to send him to jai, and 'Oh by the way, there was some men in that jail, the Terrell County jail who would love to see you coming because you are a tender young thing...' said John Cole Vodicka of the Prison & Jail Project. "I think that is totally inappropriate."

But there is no record that the judge made those comments. The courtroom tape recorder is said to have malfunctioned and there's nothing on the tape.

"We are asking the City of Dawson to remove him as judge." The NAACP sent its request Monday morning, and they hope this time it will be granted. The Municipal Court Judge is appointed by the Dawson City Council. Judge Williams declined comment.

posted at 4:25PM by dave.miller@walb.com