Another Clinch County judge faces charges - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Another Clinch County judge faces charges

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November 15, 2007

Homerville - Clinch County Judge Berrien Sutton faces seven misconduct charges by the Judicial Qualifications Committee.

Those counts are as follows:  

Count One - Failed to regularly hold court as a Judge of the Juvenile Court of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit from November 2000 to January 2007                                                            

Count Two - Failed to attend mandatory annual judicial training                                             

Count Three - Conduct in The State vs Richard Pearson gave the appearance of impropriety in the view of the nature of your personal relationship with the father and mother of the defendant.

County Four - Improperly attempted to interfere with the case of Bolling v. Narainsinghani and sought favorable treatment for Narainsinghani

Count Five - Unlawfully appointed non-lawyer magistrate judge to sit in the State Court of Clinch County

Count Six - Signed an Order on June 1, 1992, that caused the collection of fees from 1992 until 2001 without lawful authority, and contrary to state law.

Count Seven - Knew that official law library funds were being distributed improperly, without legal authority.

Sutton's attorney, Thomas Whithers sent us a statement which says Judge Sutton has done nothing wrong and they look forward to their day in court.

Sutton is the most recent in a long line of judges and county officials in Clinch County who are facing charges, have been indicted, or resigned.

Some in the community are glad to see something is finally being done.  "People need to stand up and be accounted for what they do. I'm glad that's finally being taken care of!" says Dale Godwin, a concerned Clinch County citizen.

Just this morning, Sheriff Winston Peterson was handed five federal charges.

Superior Court Judge Brooks Blitch faces seven misconduct charges by the Judicial Qualifications Committee, handed down two weeks ago.

Deputy Clerk of Courts Melinda Davis and deputy sheriff Sissy Suggs resigned in September for their part in accepting money from that illegal account created by Judge Blitch and signed by Sutton.

Associate magistrate Judge Linda Peterson was indicted with federal perjury charges in September.

And Superior Clerk of Court Danny Lecesse resigned in August after pleading guilty to federal mail charges.

All this came shortly after the FBI raided Judge Blitch's office and the Clinch County Courthouse in June.

It is unclear if more court and county officials may be facing charges but the community is just ready to move on.  "Business can get back to normal and everybody else can get back to normal," Godwin says.

But with no hearing dates set yet for judges Sutton or Blitch, there's no telling when that may be.

The misconduct charges given to Blitch and Sutton are not criminal charges but if the charges are proven true, they could be removed from power.