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First Black Female Judge Fired Because of ‘Systemic Incompetence’

Source: Facebook

A hearing panel has decided unanimously to recommend the removal of Douglas County Probate Judge Christina Peterson following an investigation. Since taking office in late 2020, the first-time judge has been under scrutiny in several investigations by FOX 5 I-Team.

Noteworthy Incompetence

The panel that consisted of  three-members of The Judicial Qualifications Commission decided that Peterson displayed “systemic incompetence” due to her blatant disregard for courthouse regulations,

Source: YouTube

mistreatment of courthouse staff, inappropriate social media posts, and repeated failure to fulfill her duties.

Incident That Transpired

The panel was specifically concerned about an incident where Peterson ordered the incarceration of a woman who was simply trying to update her marriage certificate,

Source: Unsplash/Berta Ferrer

The woman was requesting to have her marriage certificate reflect her biological fathers name.

Jail

PJ Skelton ultimately served two days in jail from the 20-day sentence that was given for contempt,

Source: Unsplash/Matthew Ansley

She remained in jail until her husband was able to pay the $500 fine.

Overreaction

The panel wrote,

Source: YouTube

“Such a hasty and shockingly disproportionate reaction is the hallmark of (Peterson’s) intemperance.”

Report

The report criticized Peterson for attempting to convince her Homeowners Association (HOA) at a community gathering to resolve a lawsuit she had started,

Source: Unsplash/Scott Graham

despite being aware that the HOA already had legal representation.

Groundbreaking Decision

This unprecedented ruling to remove Peterson comes after specific hearings that started in September 2023,

Source: Unsplash/Claire Anderson

During which time Peterson was given the opportunity to testify and address her accusers. She was faced with 30 accusations of misconduct.

The Panel

The panel wrote,

Source: Freepik

“(Peterson’s) attempts to avoid responsibility for these clear violations bordered on farcical, severely eroding her credibility with the Hearing Panel.”

Panic Button

Separately,

Source: Unsplash/Marcel Eberle

She panicked when a deputy was delayed in escorting her to court, unnecessarily causing alarm among security.

Ignored

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office voiced concerns that Judge Peterson ignored their directives by allowing a wedding after hours,

Source: Shutterstock/pathdoc

allowing entry without the presence of deputies.

Racism

Additionally, the report outlined situations where staff criticized her actions,

Source: Unsplash/Jon Tyson

it “quickly triggers allegations of obstructionism or even racism.”

Argument

Peterson’s primary argument was her limited experience as a judge,

Source: Unsplash/Adi Goldstein

Which she claimed had been addressed through more extensive training.

Lawsuit

“These communications and actions reveal a judge (Respondent) who publicly vilifies colleagues,

Source: Shutterstock

is quick to threaten them with unnecessary legal action, and generally projects a spiteful and vainglorious persona.”

Unconvinced

Despite this,

Source: Unsplash/Tingey Injury Law Firm

The panel was unconvinced by her explanation.

Guilty

The hearing panel claimed that Peterson was guilty of,

Source: YouTube

“systemic incompetence… (Judges) are expected to act in a manner that promotes the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. Respondent has shown that she cannot — or will not — do so. And so she must go.”

Failure

The report cited numerous occasions where she failed to do her job,

Source: Studysmarter

Which resulted in unnecessary delays in processing petitions in her office.

Election

In addition to this,

Source: Unsplash/Element5 Digital

Peterson is faced with opposition in the upcoming election. Earlier this year, her Homeowners Association (HOA) initiated wage garnishment from her judicial salary to settle the $43,446.76 debt she owes.

Georgia Supreme Court

The Georgia Supreme Court will have the ultimate say in whether the hearing panel’s recommendation will stick or not. Peterson has 20 business days to file a response and remains on the bench.

Source: Wikimedia/Harrison Keely

Her attorney, Lester Tate,  stated “we disagree with the recommendation of removal and intend to go to the next level.”

What do you think?

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Athena Hallet

Written by Athena Hallet

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