Georgia Supreme Court allows Judge Christian Coomer to remain on bench
But Georgia’s Supreme Court has asked a judicial panel to revisit Coomer’s conduct.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A powerful Georgia judge accused of multiple counts of misconduct can keep his job for now.
The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled Christian Coomer, who sits on the Georgia Court of Appeals, will be allowed to remain on the bench despite a recommendation from a Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) panel that he be removed. Supreme Court justices said Coomer shouldn’t be disciplined for conduct he allegedly engaged in before taking the bench.
In its opinion, which can be read here, the court wrote, “the Code of Judicial Conduct simply has no application to conduct by people who are not yet judges or judicial candidates, even if they later become a judge or judicial candidate.”
Coomer has sat on the Georgia Court of Appeals since 2018.
ORIGINAL STORY: Judge Christian Coomer could be removed by Supreme Court of Georgia
Some of the claims against Coomer are using campaign funds to take his family on vacation to Hawaii and Israel. Other charges include transferring campaign funds to his former law firm and taking out an unfair loan from a former client, who is elderly.
The claims are among 36 formal charges first brought against Coomer by the JQC in December 2020. Most of those happened when he was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives and before he took the bench in 2018.
Georgia State Law Professor Caren Morrison said Coomer’s conduct can erode the public’s trust in the judicial system.
“If you’re going to be in front a judge and you realize this is a judge who has taken advantage of an older person and used campaign funds to go on trips to Hawaii, you’re not going to feel like you’re going to get a fair shake. Like, justice is a joke and we don’t want that.”
Coomer is not out of the woods yet. The Supreme Court asked the oversight commission to revisit the case to identify whether Coomer acted in bad faith. It has 60 days to do that.
RECENT HEADLINES FROM ATLANTA NEWS FIRST INVESTIGATES
- Atlanta murder suspect denied resources after years in jail
- Senate committee approves ankle monitors for convicted sex offenders
- Public records reveal security concerns of metro Atlanta school leaders
If there’s something you would like Atlanta News First Investigates to dig into, fill out this submission form.
Copyright 2023 WANF. All rights reserved.