JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION
State of Georgia
Open Meeting Minutes
June 19, 2020
This meeting of the Investigative Panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission of the State of Georgia was held via Zoom and teleconference. Mr. Pope Langdale chaired the meeting and Ms. Phyllis Motes served as Recording Secretary.
Commission Members Present:
Mr. Pope Langdale
Judge Stacey Hydrick
Mr. Bob Barr
Mr. Warren Selby
Judge Verda Colvin
Mr. James Balli
Mr. Chuck Boring – Director
Ms. Courtney Veal – Deputy Director
Ms. Phyllis Motes – Case Manager
Lance Alford – Investigator
Judge Robert McBurney – Hearing Panel Member
Ms. Jamala McFadden -Hearing Panel Member
Mr. Richard Hyde – Hearing Panel Member
Chairman Langdale called the meeting to order and determined that a quorum was present.
Upon motion and second, the Minutes of the May 15, 2020 Open Meeting were approved. The motion passed unanimously.
Chairman Langdale reminded the Panel that the meeting was being conducted under Rule 3A, Judicial Emergency, which allows the Panel to make decisions virtually when a quorum is present. Chairman Langdale then conducted a roll call, and he asked everyone to introduce themselves at that time.
Chairman Langdale spoke briefly about the courts reopening and how that was working. He then turned the meeting over to the Director.
The Director began by reminding the Investigative Panel that the Hearing Panel was invited to attend the meeting in order to gain insight into how the Panels can improve their processes.
Judge McBurney began the discussion by stating that more information is always better for the Hearing Panel. He also congratulated Mr. Boring and Ms. Veal on improvement of recent submissions for Formal Charges Judge Hydrick asked what information was helpful in regard to witnesses.
Mr. Hyde stated that interview summaries, information on how a judge’s conduct has affected the complainant, audio, and information on how the Investigative Panel dealt with other judges involving the same circumstances are all very helpful to the Hearing Panel.
A discussion followed among the Panels regarding how various judges may have presented themselves before the Hearing Panel.
Judge McBumey suggested that the Panels meet together (Open Meetings only) more often in order to keep up procedurally. He suggested a joint meeting every other month.
The Panel agreed with his suggestion.
Chairman Langdale asked Judge McBumey if it was possible to get updates on outstanding matters currently before the Hearing Panel.
Judge McBumey said he could certainly give the Investigative Panel updates on outstanding matters. He said that a pretrial conference will be held on July 15 in the Gundy matter, and he reminded the Panel that Judge Gundy has changed her representation to the Weathington firm. He then reported that the Judge Baker matter will go trial.
The Panels then entered into a discussion regarding the possibility ofUGA law students reviewing, and potentially revising, the current opinions located on the JQC website as well as preparing a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Judge Hydrick also offered to reach out to Georgia State for possible help with this project.
Judge McBumey then gave an update on the Crawford matter. He concluded by the thanking the Investigative Panel for their time, and the Hearing Panel signed out of the meeting.
The Director then gave an update on the recently issued Judicial Emergency Order. He stated that existing dates and deadlines have been reset in conjunction with the new Order. He expects that jury trials will begin in either August or September.
Mr. Boring then reminded the Panel that the next meeting is scheduled for July 17, 2020. He then began a discussion with the Panel regarding where the meeting should be held. It was agreed that the meeting would be held at the State Bar of Georgia if it has reopened.
Mr. Boring then gave a brief update on the plans for moving the JQC office to its new location. He stated that he would send the Panel the new address soon.
Mr. Boring then moved to a discussion on the Rule 29 Committee. He congratulated them on doing an outstanding job handling complaints against judicial candidates. He said that all of the complaints have been dealt with, but there are a number of runoffs so the committee will be in place through August.
Mr. Boring then moved to a discussion on judicial Magistrate Court training deficiencies. He stated that reminder emails have been sent to deficient judges. He also said that this information would be placed on Box for review by the Panel.
Mr. Boring then moved to a discussion on expiring member appointments and terms. He stated that Judge McBurney and Mr. Balli will be reappointed.
Mr. Boring then moved to a discussion regarding the legislative session. He stated that even though the governor requested a 14% cut be made to all agency budgets, the norm seems to be that 11 % cuts were made. He also stated that the JQC only received a 3% cut to next year’s budget. It was approved in the Legislature, and now it will go to the House for approval.
Mr. Boring then directed the Panel’s attention to the June Financial Report.
Mr. Boring then asked ifthere was any old or new business that needed to be discussed.
There being no further old or new business for discussion, the Open Meeting was adjourned.