Dawson Judge defends actions - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dawson Judge defends actions

April 20, 2004

Terrell County-- A Dawson judge defends himself from the bench, "So I want it to be clear as to why I am letting you out of jail tonight," says Judge Henry Williams.

Municipal Court Judge Henry Williams says outside pressures do not influence his decisions in court.  50-year-old Willie McCray, a Dawson man sentenced to 11 years behind bars for refusing to clean his filthy yard, was back before a judge Monday night.

But, Municipal Court Judge Henry Williams used the hearing as an opportunity to defend his actions as protesters gathered outside his courtroom. Judge Williams had strong words for his detractors as well as the media.

Outside Municipal Court, protesters held signs demanding Judge Henry Williams be fired. Inside, Judge Williams made it clear who was in charge, "I don't run a public relations court. I do follow the law and I will stand by a decision I have made regardless of consequences."

50-year-old Willie McCray faced consequences for not clearing debris from his yard as ordered repeatedly by Judge Williams-- sentenced to 4,260 days in jail and a $7,339.00 dollar fine.

Protesters outside the court say the consequence does not fit the crime. Protester Geraldine Johnson says she is upset about the 11 year sentence, "Yes, I am. Because a person that kill a person don't get that much."

Yet, inside, Judge Williams stood by his actions, "It is the result that I am interested in, not public relations. We have gotten the yard cleaned. All of the junk we have seen on the photographs is eradicated."

McCray's yard now is clean as a whistle. But, pictures taken of McCray's yard before he went to jail show old appliances and filth cluttering his yard. Judge Williams says he gave McCray ample opportunity to clear the debris and followed the law when he sentenced him, "Now I may get fired after tonight, but you know it won't be the first time. And I guarantee you where Henry Williams is concerned, it won't be the last."

Outside Court, protesters held signs reading "Williams Must Go" and "Fire Judge Williams", demands Judge Williams detractors hope will be met.

Willie McCray is out of jail. Judge Williams put him back on probation, but it hasn't been decided if McCray's probation will last the original 12 months or 142 months.

It's also up in the air if McCray will have to pay the full $7,339 dollar fine.

Posted at 5:58 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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