Monday, May 20 2013 4:40 PM EDT2013-05-20 20:40:05 GMT
Two Valdosta teenagers are charged with burglarizing a business after they were caught leaving the scene Sunday night. Police say around 11:30 p.m., a 15 and 14-year-old broke into On The Way Tax ServicesMore >>
Two Valdosta teenagers are charged with burglarizing a business after they were caught leaving the scene Sunday night. More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 4:38 PM EDT2013-05-20 20:38:02 GMT
With summer almost here, more motorcycles will be on the road. And south Georgia bikers urge you to watch out for them. They're asking car and truck drivers to look twice and make sure there is not aMore >>
South Georgia motorcyclists urge drivers to pay attention to the road, and look twice before pulling out.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 4:32 PM EDT2013-05-20 20:32:01 GMT
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating an officer involved shooting in Lakeland. Saturday night around 9:00, 42-year-old Tim Blanton was shot at 196 North Highway 135. GBI agents areMore >>
Saturday night around 9:00, 42-year-old Tim Blanton was shot at 196 North Highway 135. GBI agents are investigating two officers who were involved, a Lanier Co. Sheriff's deputy and a GSP trooper.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 2:25 PM EDT2013-05-20 18:25:47 GMT
Dougherty County Commissioners unanimously denied a $15,000 for the National Youth Sports Program during Monday's Commission meeting. Robert Skinner, the NYSP director, outlined the program's services,More >>
Dougherty County Commissioners unanimously denied a $15,000 for the National Youth Sports Program during Monday's Commission meeting.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 11:25 AM EDT2013-05-20 15:25:03 GMT
Two men, one black and one white, burst into the Petro Store at the intersection of Highway 200 and Highway 45 Sunday night, and attacked the clerk, stealing money. The victim told authorities that theMore >>
Two men, one black and one white, burst into the Petro Store at the intersection of Highway 200 and Highway 45 Sunday night, and attacked the clerk, stealing money.More >>
May 14, 2004
Albany-- Former Municipal Court Judge Henry Williams has been a source of controversy for several weeks now. Last month, Williams sentenced a Dawson man to 11 years behind bars for repeatedly ignoring court orders to clean up his littered yard.
That ruling sparked protests from several watch-dog groups. City leaders, concerned that Williams might be a liability, fired him.
Henry Williams defends his actions behind the bench. "If what they want is not a judge that is going to go by the law, but is going to throw a leaf in the air and see which way the wind is blowing and go that way, then I am not the person. I am sworn to an oath and I am going to adhere to that oath and that is justice regardless of race."
Until Thursday night, Williams was Judge Henry Williams, serving in Dawson's Municipal Court. But, in a five to one vote, the city council fired him. The decision to fire Henry Williams was made swiftly, and it's a decision he says he accepts.
"I don't feel the council made their decisions because of any pressures made by any outside groups or any special interest groups,” said City Manager Barney Parnacott. “I think the city made a decision they felt was in the best interest for the city of Dawson and their future."
But there were very visible pressures. For several weeks, protesters with the NAACP and Prison and Jail Project picketed outside Judge William's courtroom, upset over what they called an excessive sentence.
Willie McCray, was sentenced to 11 years in jail for not cleaning up his yard, which was filled with junk and debris. "When he cleaned the yard I let him out of jail,” said Williams. “It was never intended he would spend 11 years in jail, that was never contemplated. But I just wanted to demonstrate a point to him that he is not above the law, nor is anyone else."
It's that kind of decisiveness that has earned Henry Williams praise as well as criticism. "I cannot tell you the number of young people who are now adults who come back and call back and send cards back to say ‘Thank you’", Williams said.
But critics say Williams abused his power, and are thankful he is no longer a judge. "I don't think it is political,” said NAACP President Ezekiel Holley. “I think it is what is right."
City Manager Parnacott says now is the right time to take a hard look at how Municipal Court is run. He says the city council will review the ordinances and other operations of the court system.