Ga. probate judge removed from office

ATLANTA — A Twiggs County Probate Court Judge has been removed from the bench and barred from holding a judicial office in Georgia.
The Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) in June 2009 moved to remove Judge Kenneth E. Fowler from his post. The Supreme Court of Georgia last month suspended Fowler from the bench and announced today that he had been removed from his position.
“Judge Fowler’s misconduct … shows that he is simply unwilling to live up to his legal and ethical responsibilities as a judge,” the court said in its opinion. “His ignorance of the law is inexcusable, and his abuse of his judicial office unacceptable.”
A JQC hearing in January found that Fowler violated judicial canons, including telling defendants they “had the burden of proving their innocence” and offering defendants the opportunity to “buy out” the community service portions of their sentences — Fowler put money they paid “into a bank account from which (he) would authorize the release of funds via court orders signed by him,” according to the court’s order.
“The evidence of record here clearly establishes several violations of (the state’s) Code of Judicial Conduct,” the order reads. “Judge Fowler readily admits to much of the misconduct, as the evidence showing the misconduct here is substantial.
“The record reveals that Judge Fowler’s consistent pattern of misconduct stems, not from unintentional mistakes or a lack of legal education, as Judge Fowler contends, but from ‘willful misconduct in office, . . . . habitual intemperance, . . . [and] conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute,'” the order continues.

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