Judge charged with assault insulting accused wants recording of incident to be audio

Ethics

Judge charged with assault insulting accused wants recording of incident to be audio

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A Georgian judge faces an ethics complaint that accuses him of grabbing and pushing a shackled inmate who insulted him.

Crawford County, Georgia, Chief Magistrate Cary Hays III “physically assaulted an inmate while the inmate was handcuffed, shackled and accompanied by a law enforcement officer,” the complaint alleges. ethics of May 7.

Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission filed the ethics complaint on Friday after reviewing the video and speaking with witnesses.

The incident occurred in December 2020. According to the complaint, the inmate was dissatisfied with Hays’ bail decision at a first appearance hearing. The inmate began to curse Hays and continued to do so as he was led out of the conference room where the hearing took place.

“As the inmate was led out of the conference room, Judge Hays verbally engaged the inmate,” the complaint reads.

The inmate then turned and cursed Hays again. Hays followed the inmate down the hall and approached him.

“Judge Hays, while speaking verbally with the inmate, grabbed the inmate and pushed him against a wall in the hallway,” the complaint reads. “At no time before Judge Hays assaulted the detainee did the detainee physically threaten Judge Hays, attempt to escape or flee custody, or threaten anyone.

Hays released the inmate after pushing him against the wall, but “continued to engage in a verbal confrontation,” the ethics complaint says.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered the complaint and spoke with Hays, who first took office in January 2017.

“I didn’t hurt the guy in any way,” Hays told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“The inmate kept cursing me over and over and over and over again,” Hays said. “At one point, I had just heard enough about it.

Hays said he knew the incident was recorded on a security camera, but he wished there was sound as well.

“I just wish the commission could hear it,” Hays told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think they would have seen it differently.”

The complaint alleges violations of the ethical provisions which oblige judges to respect and comply with the law; act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary; and be patient, dignified and courteous.


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About Ethel Nester

Ethel Nester

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