Grady Co. judge comes under investigation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Grady Co. judge comes under investigation

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Georgia's Commission on Judicial Qualifications is starting an inquiry into some actions by Grady County State Court Judge J. William Bass, Sr.

The commission wants answers to questions about fines imposed by the judge on citizens convicted in his court, and whether the judge asked for a pay raise from the county based on money he brought in with those fines.

Count two of the inquiry cites the failure to collect surcharges from people convicted of DUI, as required by Georgia law.

Count three accuses Bass of nepotism, by appointing his son, William Bass, Jr., to act as judge in his absence.

Bass is also being looked at for private facebook conversations about someone facing a DUI charge, allegedly telling the sister of that person that they should get the case moved out of one court and into his court, where he could preside over it.

The commission also will look into whether Judge Bass asked people in his court to vote for him in the election, took Hispanic defendants out of the courtroom without the court reporter or prosecutor present, were abusive to political opponent's supporters, and even paid a fine on behalf of a person convicted in court.

Several counts of the inquiry deal with the politics of the election for the bench in Grady County. They range from asking the sheriff to exclude a bonding company from operating because that company did not support him,  to threatening probation service contractors for not supporting him, and then canceling their contracts.

 Judge Bass has thirty days to file written answers to the counts of the inquiry.

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