Judge Blitch connected to Peterson extortion charge - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Judge Blitch connected to Peterson extortion charge

March 14, 2008

Valdosta - The new ethics charges against Judge Brooks Blitch also connect him to an extortion charge against his former secretary who is now the associate magistrate judge in Clinch County.

Linda Peterson was indicted Wednesday for extortion by a public official.

The indictment lists two un-named co-conspirators.

According to the JQC, those co-conspirators are Judge Blitch and his son.

They say in 2006 Judge Blitch demanded an arrest warrant against Ted Smith on behalf of Brooks Blitch IV, claiming Smith destroyed a piece of his son's logging equipment.

Magistrate Judge Annie Ruth Steedley refused to issue a warrant.

Documents from the JQC say Associate Judge Peterson agreed to hear the case and told Smith he would go to jail if he didn't pay Blitch's son more than three thousand dollars.

A month later, Judge Blitch appointed Peterson as full-time magistrate judge and gave her a 14-thousand dollar raise.

She is currently suspended with the pay.

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