Roswell judge denies threat allegations toward city solicitor

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

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ROSWELL, Ga. - A retired Roswell judge denies he ever made threats to the city solicitor, despite what court documents seem to suggest.

The revelations came to light in the city's answer to a lawsuit over plans to privatize part of the court services function in the city.

Judge Maurice Hilliard told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik he finds the allegation "absurd" and he can't understand why someone would make them. Hilliard abruptly resigned his position in August after decades on the bench.

"I've been doing this 33 years. That's long enough," he said. "It's time for somebody else to do it."

Three days before he resigned, Hilliard said the director and a member of the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission visited him in his chambers to ensure he wasn't enforcing a policy that required drivers under 25 who got tickets to show up in court with their parents if they were listed on their insurance. Hilliard said the JQC had chastised him years earlier for the practice and told him to stop.

"(They) came in, asked me if I'd seen the city's website, if I knew that there was still a requirement that people under age 25 had to have a parent present," he recounted. "I told them I was not aware of that."

Hilliard said he asked city staff to remove the requirement from the web site, then decided that weekend he was ready to call it quits.

"There comes a time for everybody and it was my time to go," he said.

According to an affidavit included in Roswell's response to the court services lawsuit, when JQC Director Jeff Davis and member Richard Hyde left their meeting with Hilliard, they advised solicitor Krista Young "to leave the building for her own safety."

Deputy City Administrator Michael Fischer said Young requested permission to leave and work from home and didn't return to work until Fischer told her she could.

City attorney David Davidson, who represents Young, wouldn't comment on the nature of the alleged threat and JQC's director declined to comment, too.

Hilliard said Young's name came up during the meeting with Hyde and Davis, but he told Petchenik he couldn't recall in what context.

"My relationship with her was pleasant," he said. "She and I didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things, but it was a very pleasant relationship."

Hilliard said he's been vocal about his disappointment with a city proposal to appoint his successor rather than allow for an election, and he said that didn't sit well with city staff.

"Things changed in City Hall and the way the government's run out there," he said. "I was not pleased with it and they probably were not pleased with me."