Ira Glass v. Amanda Williams
If you missed the story Very Tough Love when it aired last March on This American Life, it put a new spin on that old adage about local politics mattering most. When you are a drug court defendant, the judicial philosophy and temperament of the judge who manages your case matters a lot, particularly since entering the drug court means waiving many procedural rights. The story, which focused on a drug court judge who had recently won reelection to a sixth term, was remarkable for its laser focus on judicial discretion and how much can go awry when that discretion is abused. It was also impossible to listen to the story without speculating about how furious the judge must have been when she heard it.
This past week, however, Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Committee filed a formal complaint against the judge—Amanda Williams, who presides over the drug court in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit. Among other allegations, the complaint states that Judge Williams jailed defendants indefinitely, ordered a suicidal defendant into solitary confinement for more than two months, and ordered a defendant jailed when he disputed the results of a drug test.
Judge Williams has the opportunity to respond to the charges in writing. Unless she and the Committee settle (which usually results in a judge stepping aside), the Commiittee will hold a trial-like proceeding on the charges.
We’ll see what happens next. But if you haven’t been following this, it’s worth clicking on the links to get up to speed. Reality radio is way more interesting than reality television.
Photo Credit: Krista Johansen