ATLANTA - The chairman of the state's judicial watchdog office confirmed to Channel 2 Action News on Monday that the investigation of a controversial Atlanta judge remains open and active.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher has been monitoring the case which has moved more slowly than many other investigations of Georgia judges.
The Judicial Qualifications Commission recommended that Pike County Superior Court Judge Mack Crawford be removed from the bench for theft-related charges. That came nine months after the JQC filed ethics charges against Crawford.
But the investigation into Atlanta Municipal Court Judge Terinee Gundy is now nearly two years old -- and still no official action.
Sources confirmed to Belcher that the state opened the ethics investigation into Gundy in mid-2017 among the initial accusations that she often arrived late for early court sessions.
“Folks know Gundy to not show up, to postpone or to cancel court,” said Mary Hooks of the defendants advocacy group SONG.
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She said if the judge doesn't show up...
“It's real simple. People have to go back to the cage until they have another court (date,)” Hooks said.
Municipal court's former chief public defender Rosalie Joy confirmed the investigation to Belcher.
“I am aware that there is a JQC investigation. I am not at liberty to discuss whether I have been interviewed by the JQC,” Joy said.
Belcher got further confirmation when he saw Gundy and her lawyer arrive to meet with the JQC last summer.
He tried -- without success -- to question them as they left.
The state's interest also includes how Gundy spent court funds.
Channel 2 Action News and our investigative partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last year that Gundy's office spent thousands of dollars on party supplies and expensive glass sculptures.
One sculpture went to then-Mayor Kasim Reed, who appointed Gundy to the municipal court in 2013.
The JQC makes decisions about judges behind closed doors, so we didn't hear anything about Gundy at last Friday’s meeting. But commission chairman Ed Tolley texted Belcher on Friday that Gundy's case is “still under close consideration. It remains open."
Channel 2 Action News has also reported that the commission has hired a respected former Fulton County assistant district attorney. Fani Willis is expected to prosecute any charges filed against Gundy. Willis was at Friday’s JQC meeting.
The judge's attorney did not respond to Belcher’s email for comment on this story.
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