State of Georgia

Open Meeting Minutes

August 23, 2019

This meeting of the Investigative Panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission of the State of Georgia was held at the State Bar Center in Atlanta. Mr. Pope Langdale chaired the meeting and Ms. Phyllis Motes served as Recording Secretary

Commission Members Present:

Mr. Richard Hyde
Mr. Pope Langdale
Mr. James Balli
Mr. Bob Barr
Judge Stacey Hydrick
Judge Verda Colvin
Mr. Warren Selby

Others Present:

Mr. Ben Easterlin – Director
Mr. Will Lasker – Staff Attorney
Ms. Phyllis Motes – Case Manager
Lance Alford – Investigator


Upon Motion and Second, the Minutes of the July 19, 2019 Meeting were approved.


Chairman Langdale called the meeting to order and determined that a quorum was present. Chairman Langdale proposed that a group email be created for the purposes of discussion among the Investigative Panel of various issues that may arise between meetings. A discussion followed and it was determined to create two different group emails: one which would include the Investigative Panel members only and one which include the Director and the Investigative Panel members. The Director has created the latter, and the Chairman is to create the former.

Chairman Langdale then proposed that a subcommittee be created for the review of resumes for the Director’s position. This subcommittee will screen and interview all candidates, then present to the Panel a short list of candidates to be interviewed by the entire Panel. After a brief discussion, it was determined that Judge Hydrick will chair the committee; additional members will include Judge Colvin, Bob Barr, and the present Director. Upon motion and second, it was unanimously resolved to extend the deadline for applications to September 30, 2019. The Director was instructed to place an advertisement for the position in the Fulton Daily Report.

Chairman Langdale then distributed a handout regarding cypersecurity for small business which was written by the Federal Trade Commission. He reiterated that this is an issue which could potentially affect any business and gave examples of colleagues that had suffered a hack. Chairman Langdale then turned the meeting over to the Director.

Mr. Easterlin began his portion of the meeting by discussing his recent meetings with the AOC IT department regarding the security of the Judicial Qualification Commission’s records. Mr. Easterlin learned that our records cannot be monitored or viewed by anyone outside of the staff. Chairman Langdale then added that following his recent visit to the Judicial Qualification Commission’s office, he
felt confident that our records were secure.

Next, Mr. Easterlin reported that he has recently looked at several potential office spaces for possible relocation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s office. A discussion of the various spaces followed. Mr. Easterlin stated that he is working with Debra
Myers of the Georgia Building Authority to compile a detailed report on available office spaces and the costs associated with each. It was determined that the Judicial Qualifications Commission will continue its present lease with the AOC on a month-to-month basis until a decision has been made regarding relocation.

Mr. Easterlin then led a discussion of the Investigative Panel Internal Procedures proposed by Chairman Langdale. Several changes were suggested to the proposed procedures. Judge Colvin moved that the Panel adopt the Internal Procedures with the suggested changes, as set forth in Exhibit A, and Judge Hydrick seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

Next, Mr. Easterlin led a discussion with the Panel regarding whether a pro tem judge can represent the Judicial Qualifications Commission in legal matters. Mr. Hyde moved that pro tem judges cannot represent the Judicial Qualifications Commission in legal
matters. Judge Colvin seconded the motion, and it was unanimously adopted. The Director was instructed to inform Fani Willis of this decision and to engage a replacement to represent the Panel in the Gundy matter, subject to Panel approval. Upon motion and second, it was unanimously resolved to authorize the Director to engage Chuck Boring for this representation.

Mr. Easterlin then reminded the Panel of the upcoming meeting with Justices Nahmias and Boggs to discuss potential changes to the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s Rules. The meeting is scheduled for September 19 at 2:00 p.m. at the State Bar Building.

Next, Mr. Easterlin directed the Panel’s attention to the Financial Report and the Complaint Log. Mr. Easterlin then gave each Panel member a copy of the 2019-2020 Georgia Courts Directory.

It was determined that there was no new business or old business to discuss. The Panel then went into its closed meeting.

These minutes were approved by the Judicial Qualifications Commission on September 20, 2019.

Pope Langdale, Chairman
Ben F. Easterlin, IV, Director