Judge Caldwell’s indiscretions recounted in court; subpoenaed ex-Judge English a no-show

A Peachtree City divorce attorney reluctantly testified under oath Friday how former Superior Court Judge Johnnie L. Caldwell Jr. sexually harassed her on a number of occasions and, once, made an inappropriate physical contact with her.

Attorney Susan Brown’s testimony Friday came as part of a divorce case in which Brown previously represented Janet Bell Crook. Mrs. Crook’s new attorneys are trying to convince Senior Superior Court Judge Grant Brantley that the old rulings in the case should be dismissed because of the bias Caldwell showed against their client because she was represented by Brown.

During a tailgating event at a University of Georgia football game in September 2007, attorney Susan Brown said Caldwell hugged her as he was leaving the area to go towards the stadium. During the hug, she said Judge Caldwell stuck his tongue in her mouth.

“I grabbed him by the shoulders and pushed him back and said, ‘Judge Caldwell, this is not a good idea.’ And he said, ‘You’re probably right,’ and then turned around and walked toward the game,” Brown testified.

Brown said she decided not to report that indiscretion, though later she asked Fayette Chief Judge Paschal A. English in late 2009 to intervene after a client of hers reported inappropriate remarks that Judge Caldwell made about her at a football game.

English, however, declined and suggested Brown take up the matter with Caldwell herself, she testified.

Brown said she sought English’s help “just so the comments would stop,” referring to the ribald remarks made by Caldwell.

“I didn’t want anything to happen to Judge Caldwell. I just wanted the comments to stop,” Brown said.

Brown said though Judge Caldwell had made risque comments to her directly before, the fact that he made such comments about her to a client jolted her.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Oh my god: he might be serious,’” Brown said.

Brown said her client advised her to take action because the client felt the matter was “appalling.” Thus Brown reported the matter to then-Chief Judge English, who took no action.

“He told me that he was sorry but he could not help me, and he told me to go sit down and handle it with Judge Caldwell by myself,” Brown said.

English has also been subpoenaed to testify in the case, but he did not appear as anticipated at Friday’s hearing. According to Mrs. Crook’s new attorney, Gary Freed, Judge English was en route to South Carolina during the hearing, and Judge Brantley several times told Freed he didn’t want to hear about English's status, as he would have to appear in court at a later date.

Brown has said she never reported Caldwell’s actions to the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission and that she never made any official “report” about the problems. However, after a hearing in the Crook case in April, she explained to Superior Court Judge Christopher Edwards that previous remarks she made about unfairness in the case weren’t aimed at him but rather the previous rulings in the case when it was overseen by Judges Caldwell and, for a brief time, English.

Days later, Judge Edwards convened a hearing of the attorneys on both sides and had Brown explain the indiscretions since they may have revealed a potential judicial bias in the case.

Caldwell resigned effective immediately April 18 and days later admitted to making inappropriate remarks to female attorneys. The resignation was tied to an official investigation into Caldwell by the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission, though the investigation results have never been made public. Caldwell in his resignation letter agreed never to seek or hold judicial office ever again.

During her testimony, Brown recalled how Judge Caldwell in December 2009 flagged her down in the parking lot of the county Justice Center and asked her in person to go with him on a vacation trip to Montana or Wyoming, she couldn’t remember which. Brown said she told him she couldn’t because she had a jury trial scheduled in Fayette County State Court.

Brown testified that Caldwell asked her to see if she could clear her calendar so she could go on the trip and he wanted Brown call his secretary to let her know. Ultimately it was Judge Caldwell’s secretary who called Brown to see if she was available to make the trip, Brown testified.

“I told her that I had not and that I would not be going on the trip with Judge Caldwell,” Brown said.

She also said Caldwell called her once and asked her to come spend the night with him at his house.

“I told him I had my children and that I couldn’t do that,” Brown said.

Brown also testified that Caldwell urged her, in graphic language, to wear tight pants in his courtroom for his own personal enjoyment.

Brown detailed how she struggled with what to do about Caldwell’s remarks, overtures and actions towards her. She said she ultimately consulted several female attorneys who suggested to her that if she reported Judge Caldwell’s inappropriate actions, she would no longer be able to work as an attorney in the Griffin Circuit.

At one point, after she reported the matter to Judge English, Brown said she considered also reporting it to fellow Superior Court Judge Christopher Edwards. She said she ultimately decided not to based on advice that Edwards would report the matter to a higher authority.

That in turn most surely would have ended Caldwell’s judicial career and in the end it ultimately may have been the fatal blow that caused him to resign.

The divorce case between Greg Crook and Janet Bell Crook has been long-running and in the process has been quite contentious at many turns and has dragged on since April 2008.

alihart
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and now Brantley bites the dust!

In the classic style of this district Brantley waits till the last hour to recuse himself..... as the hearing was scheduled tomorrow. He is already a proven liar from stating that George H. Bush appointed him to a committiee during the 90's to fluff his electoral resume. He was forced out of the election by this eroneus proclamation. Who keep's appointing these crooked alternate judges into our district???
Isn't that why the original ones were dismissed? And YES they still keep their $100,000 pensions even though they resigned in disgrace.

positivelysouth...
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Alihart, more details please~

Is this Crook v. Crook?

Fayettetruthseeker
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Judge W. Flethcer Sams

Judicial misconduct goes further than most are aware of, even to the court of the assumed Honorable W. Fletcher Sams.

Recently a young man, both a life guard and child entertainer, was arrested in Fayette County State Court of Georgia when responding to a minor traffic citation of less than 20 mph over the speed limit. He, a Jew, was arrested and charged with failure to appear, although he was on the court docket and on time before Judge W. Fletcher Sams, State Court Judge, Fayette County, Georgia.

His arrest followed his demonstrating that he knew the distinction between a corporate entity and a human being. For demonstrating this in “his court”, Griffin Circuit Judge W. Fletcher Sams had the Fayette County resident arrested, held without bond, and he was deprived of the opportunity to make or receive phone calls and to speak with his family or receive council of his choosing

Falsely charged with failure to appear (FTA), his next arraignment date exceeded the maximum sentence for a (FTA). Again Judge W. Fletcher Sams exceed the sentencing guidelines when Sams refused to follow the sentencing guidelines of receiving two (2) days credit for each day served. The Fayette citizen was held him extra days. Fearful for his life, after his incarceration, not only was he was prohibited from making or receiving phone calls, but was denied sufficient food for vegetarian. Practically fasting for several days and in a weakened condition, the Fayette County Citizen agreed to sign whatever papers would ensure his quick release from Fayette County Jail, this occurred after serving more than the maximum sentence for FTA. The Fayette citizen was only brought into court after the less than honorable Judge W. Fletcher Sams was served a writ of habeas corpus.

After receiving the writ and releasing the young man, the less than Honorable Judge W. Fletcher Sams retaliated. Sams with great hubris threatened the writer of the writ with a bench warrant for practicing law with a “license”. W. Fletcher Sams lied when he said it was a felony for practicing law without a “license”. On the same day, only minutes earlier, the less than Honorable Judge W. Fletcher Sams had said, prior to the writ writer’s arrival, that practicing law without a “license” is a misdemeanor. You can only lie to and intimidate some of the people some of the time.

The less than Honorable Judge W. Fletcher Sams later issued an inadequate public apology to the citizen who has never been arrested before this incident. Can the citizens of Fayette County afford to have liars in our judicial system? We, the family and friends of the falsely arrested are concerned about continued acts of retaliation from the less than Honorable Judge W. Fletcher Sams.

Please pray for justice to reign at the Fayette County Justice Center, and that we not empower our fellow citizens to lie, corrupt the judicial process, and deny due process of law. We seek your prayers for the protection of all Georgia citizens who live in or travel through Fayette County, Georgia

diva1
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Less than Honorable Judge Sams

Does anyone know who owns ALL these probation offices? Is it possible some of these judges do as they give out such fines and doctors give out medication? I asked a probation officer one time who owned the facillity and he did not know-isn't that strange? Somebody is getting a hugh cut and kick-back from the offices.

Courthouserules
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truthseeker

If you really have a case and the evidence, give it to the judicial panel who arranged for the running away of the two Superior Court judges recently
But don't give it to another local judge or to the local DA!
It will drown in shuffling. Even in the case I mentioned above, the shuffling still continues.
Suits are being filed for those tried under prejudiced circumstances but I don't know how many yet. Most don't even know about it!

Maybe them registered letters to them what are still in jail didn't get there?

Some dun moved to California!

Save Fayette
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Mbest/ Maxwell and Susan Brown

Mbest
What I said is that he is on the tapes that the Citizen posted, he was also in the meetings
With Susan Brown and the judges. He is a sitting County Commissioner who is involved in the biggest upset in this county’s court system. Maybe the State of Georgia.
Mbest did you know that Maxwell as a County Commissioner sets the budget
For the Judges. As well as Fayette County’s participation in the Griffin Judicial Circuit
I personally think its wrong that he is involved in it. It just does not look right and that is why I said I think he is slippery. I do not trust Attorneys and now Judges. He should have stayed very far from all of this.

mbest
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Save Fay, saying he was there is a far stretch

from saying he was involved. I once witnessed a car wreck, doesn't mean I was involved. You have every right to posture for or against any politician you don't care for. I won't make voting choices based on inuendo. From what I've read it seems he was more there as a referee than anything else.

mbest
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homegym, you're ignoring the fact that he was

a Superior Court Judge. At that point no one had ever challenged a Superior Court Judge, everyone thought they were untouchable. My read is her instinct was to tread lightly and try and tip-toe around his eccentricities until he went to far.

AtHomeGym
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mbest & brown

You can call it what you want--I call it risk avoidance and lack of courage to do the right thing.

NUK_1
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AHG: I call it....

...saving up ammunition to use against others later on when you can benefit from it, which is exactly the kind of person she is.

The Wedge
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Ah, Machiavellian.

and I agree. A chit to be cashed later

bringinabroom
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What Maxwell and Ballard have in common

What do County Commissioner Eric Maxwell and District Attorney Scott Ballard have in common ???

(1) They both wanted to be judges and

(2) Neither one made the Governor's Short List of nominees:

http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/06-18-2010/6-governors-short-list-2-v...

If they ain't good enough for the state's short list, they ain't good enough for us.

Get rid of both of 'em.

AtHomeGym
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brown & caldwell

I just can't figure out why--when Caldwell asked her to go on a trip with him, she just didn't say "No Judge, lthat wouldn't be ethical. And by the way, I consider even the fact that you asked me to be unethical and if something like that happens again, I'll file a formal complaint." Ditto with the request to spend the night at his house. Both replies just might leave Caldwell to think that well, if she didn't have these issues in the way, she'd be there! I can see why he'd think that. Regardless, requests should have never been made. And I think it's very difficult, if not impossible, to have a tongue stuck in your mouth if you don't want it to happen. Just too much "she said" or didn't say, for me.

OLDPTC
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She Said and He Didn't Say - yet

There are two sides to this story...we'll see what becomes of all of this. My guess is that there is truth to what she is saying, BUT it sure seems that she could have, at any one of these earlier junctures said no.

And where's this secretary that made "the call" for the sleep over??

This is one big hot mess.

tortugaocho
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The Whole Courthouse Crowd Knew

This stuff ain't no surprise to the courthouse crowd (nor that it is Susan Brown involved right in the heart of it all). As Pappy and Caldwell were sleeping their way around the courthouse, publicly sexually harrassing many women and lawyers while even on the bench, these were known by many people in the courthouse. And many County Commissioners cowtowed and sucked up to them.

Kinda reminds me of NOW's willingness to do or say absolutely nothing as President Clinton was blowing and screwing his way across America.

Look for good ole buddy Judge Brantley to bring a Ballard end to all of it.

ginga1414
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Believe It Or Not, Save Fayette and I Agree!

Corruption runs rampant in Fayette County. Most of our public officials are slippery. They are slippery in what they do and they are slippery in what they say. The Board of Commissioners, The Board of Education (Exceptions there), The Sheriff's Department and our Judges need to be subjected to a thorough cleaning.

They all think they can do whatever they please with no consequences. They have done and continue to do whatever they please because until now no one has had the courage or moral conviction to expose the truth.

When a citizen asked Eric Maxwell a question concerning her property and well, he spoke to her as if she were nothing. I could site a list of public lies, indiscretions, illegalities, and non-ethical issues that none of these people can justifiably explain away.

If Judge English was a blatant "No Show," a bench warrant should have been immediately issued for his arrest.

We can vote Smith and Maxwell out of their commission seats. We can change the 3 to 2 votes within the Board of Education with our votes. However, when it comes to our judges, we need to start a letter writing campaign to Gov. Perdue, the GJQC, Judges Brantley and Edwards and the newspapers asking for further investigation.

suggarfoot
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ginga1414 I agree

I can understand why Brown responded the way she did. I never believed in turning someone in, I always let it work its way out. I'm sure that is what she too hoped for. Lawyer or not, a lot of women don't want to be the bad guy and blow the whistle. Sometime men are just clumsy. Later,they realize they put you in a bad position and are truly sorry for their bad judgement.

A lot of woman would take something like this and use it to their advantage. I once so a girl throw herself at someone who already had a charge against him. She kept on till he said something slightly off color, then went to management, made her complaint, then told them she would drop it, if she got this and this. She got everything she wanted.

Clearly, that was not Brown's motive. I admire her for giving him a second chance to realize his bad judgement. She went the extra mile.

What I don't understand is how condescending the good ole boy group was to Brown when she finally came forward. English wasn't blind. Once, when someone didn't back off and I reluctantly told, I was given empathy. I was told they knew it was happening and waiting for me to say something. I'm sorry Brown didn't get the same understanding and respect. Clearly, if English had handled it properly, it would never have escalated. She would probably have been happy with him being told to back off and that would have been the end of it.

They need to clean house. I always thought English was an opinionated buffoon, but this is ridiculous. I'm glad Brown when above English's obnoxious butt! Good for her!

onewhocares
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ginga1414

Thank You so much for your post, because I too have seen things that are so wrong with the way things are handled here in Fayette County.

Road Runner
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ginga1414 states "Corruption runs rampant in Fayette County"

And I agree that the Sheriffs Dept and our Judges need to be subjected to a thorough cleaning. Yet time and time again, as you say, they all think they can do as they please and get by with it and no one has the courage to expose the truth. How come there has been no bench warrant issued for English?!? The ordinary citizen would be in jail right now! They are all connected from the Sheriffs Dept to the Judges.

suggarfoot
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why no bench warrant for Engish?

Good question. What a corrupt bunch! If that was you or I, there would be a bench warrent, and yes, we would be in jail now!

alihart
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because Brantley and Pappy are friends

Brantley raised money for Pappy's last election. Now the crooked Brantley has recused himself. Were do they get these jokers? He is already a proven liar from stating that George H. Bush appointed him to a committiee during the 90's to fluff his electoral resume. He was forced out of the election by this eroneus proclamation.

NUK_1
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Thanks for posting the same message in 4 places

I would have really felt deprived if I hadn't seen and since you posted it 4 times, no way I could miss it.

alihart
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clown friends with Brantley too?

You are so very welcome! I think everyone should know the same courthouse shenanigans continue!

Save Fayette
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County Commissoner Maxwell in the middle also, Not Right

I am with you on this double standard stuff, the one thing that keeps burning me up is that one of our sitting County Commissioners is right in the middle of all this mess. Eric Maxwell, he has been representing Susan Brown, he is on the tapes with judge Edwards, he was on the list for trying to become a judge. There is more to what’s going on. I hope the Citizen finds out what it is. Very fishy. He is very slipery

mbest
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Save Fayette, you sound a little slippery yourself

I'm sick of sleazy posters with criptic allegations with no substance. If you know something say it or shut-up. You remind me of Mrs. Cravitz. You want to spread dark rumors to insert yourself into the situation but don't really know anything.

suggarfoot
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Commissoner Maxwell involved too?

please tell us more, there is an election and we need to know.

inkslinger
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John Munford-Help!

Seems another burp here in paragraphs 1 and 3? And who the heck is "Futch"?

I blame it on the heat, nothing wants to work right in this weather.

Oh, and John Munford, when this sordid saga is over, you will be hearing from the Enquirer, I'm sure.

Does anyone know if Susan Brown was married while all this was going on?

AtHomeGym
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Goil & Burp

Not a clue what you're talking about here and don't see the name "Futch" anywhere in the article--what am I missing?

inkslinger
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Gym

Presto, it's gone now. Guess the webmaster (or Munford)came on and deleted it. The first paragraph in the article was repeated and showed as the 3rd paragraph, also.

"Futch" is gone, too. It is replaced with "Freed", in the paragraph that includes "and Judge Brantley several times told Freed...." As in Gary Freed, I guess. All fixed now. I think this heat is doing funny things, don't you?

Thanks for noticing..:)

AnonRegisteredVoter
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Subpoenaed and a no-show?

Subpoenaed and a no-show? Why was no bench warrant issued? I guess these guys can do whatever they want it seems.

ptctaxpayer
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Subpoenaed and a no-show? Why

Subpoenaed and a no-show? Why was no bench warrant issued?

A judge mind you. Oh well.

It's the Boys Club. The Senior Judge Brantley protecting his pal Judge Pappy.

Certainly y'all know of people that forgot to go to traffic court in Fayette County and later got a knock on the door and spent the night in jail. My friends wife called me to help get her hubby out of jail THE NIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING !!! And here a judge gets a complete pass. Trying ignoring a subpoena folks and you will have some self righteous, obese Sheriff's Deputy banging on your door to come lock you up.

And what about poor ole Susan. Ole Johnny didn't keep pestering her for no reason at all folks. Probably some great details from one of those raucous "We Love Caldwell" parties at Eric Maxwell's house. What a bunch of dirtbags.

NUK_1
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Good question, ptctaxpayer

How does good 'ol Pappy get a free ride on ignoring a subpoena? The average citizen gets arrested for that, as you mentioned. I'd like to hear some more on this, even if it is just more crap to stack on the crap-pile of the Fayette County judicial system.

suggarfoot
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crap and dirtbags

you got it Nuk!

Some local government!

We got commissioners taking leisurely Sunday afternoon wobbles down the highway smokin the wacky stuff, while others are using our taxes as personal piggy banks for the pet projects.

Meanwhile, the judges are in the court room groping the lawyers.

Nice.

flitecrew
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Exactly- ptctaxpayer & Nuk_1

It is stunning how bold they are about having one system of justice for judges, prosecutors, public defenders and those connected to them and entirely another for those who aren't.

Between the two of you...you summed it up pretty well...a crap pile of dirtbags.

fay79isus
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Two Systems of Justice in Fayette

Yes, we do have two systems of justice here in Fayette. The media loves the shower the judges with attention when they give someone 20 years in prison. But if it is the judge, or the DA, or the DA's former law partner, etc., then we have a different standard. Did you see what happened with the local lawyer who got caught stealing $647,000? He got a lousy 5 years. He will probably serve 1 year in the county jail.

http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/05-18-2010/attorney-gets-5-years-bilk...

Guess what--- he was Scott Ballard our DA's former law partner. And only after all of our judges (you guessed it) recused themselves so we taxpayers could pay extra for a judge to come in and give him a sweetheart deal, not ask him where the money went and not ask about how he got the money to pay a lawyer. The whole thing stinks.

flitecrew
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Two Systems of Justice-fay79isus

That is so disturbing & disgusting. How much more glaringly obvious can it be? "Judge McGarity agreed to sentence Slade as a first offender, and said he would not be willing to throw him back in jail for violating probation as long as he pays “something” back to the victims in terms of restitution." Something???? He should have to pay back every last penny. Then this bit about a first offender is scary since he did it to multiple clients. It makes no sense.

suggarfoot
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1st time offender?

How many little old ladies does he have to bilk to be offensive in judge McGarity's eyes? And he is Scott Ballard's former law partner. Birds of a feather etc....