HENRY COUNTY MAGISTRATE COURT RESCINDS APPOINTMENTS
Today’s Fulton County Daily Report announced that former Murray County Magistrate Bryant Cochran was convicted of six felony charges involving the orchestration of the false arrest of a woman who was testifying against him in a state ethics investigation. What has this to do with the announcement by the Henry County Magistrate Court that all appointments will be rescinded on January 1, 2015? Read on!
Recently, one of our members was served by the Henry County Sheriff’s Deputy with an Order to appear in court to Show Cause why her Magistrate Court appointment should not be rescinded. There was no petition or complaint with the Show Cause Order; nothing that would suggest what conduct she was being accused of that would warrant the service of such an Order. She appeared before State Court Judge Ben W. Studdard III and Magistrate Martin Jones and was presented with copies of affidavits of service she had performed. She was informed that each affidavit reflected that she had served the defendant at an address different from the address shown on the summons. This, according to Magistrate Jones was suspicious. He added that he had been told by unidentified persons that they were in fact not served with lawsuits for which affidavits of service had been filed. No petition or complaint containing any such allegations was presented.The hearing was rescheduled to December 9, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
Director Paul Tamaroff appeared with our member as her attorney at the designated time. Magistrate Jones was in attendance for the hearing before Judge Studdard. When Judge Studdard asked him to present the defense Director Tamaroff noted that a defense could not be presented since there were no allegations to defend against. The affidavits raising Magistrate Jones’ concern were signed under oath by the member and if she were to testify, she would again state that the papers were served at the addresses shown on the affidavits. Magistrate Jones offered that he had been told by several witnesses they had not been served. Director Tamaroff responded that no statements from any witnesses alleging improper service had been presented; that the law required such evidence to be “the strongest of which the nature of the case would allow.” When asked where the witnesses were, Magistrate Jones replied that his office could not locate the witnesses. Director Tamaroff argued that it simply was not fair to require a process server to appear pursuant to a Show Cause Order and testify against allegations that were not properly alleged, much less provided under oath. Judge Studdard agreed and dismissed the Show Cause Order.
On December 11, the Magistrate Court issued its notice that all appointments will be rescinded January 1, 2015. The timing of the notice is quite suspicious. If the Magistrate Court was planning to rescind all appointments, Magistrate Jones would have had advance knowledge. Knowing that the appointments were to be rescinded, what was the purpose in requiring our member to appear and show cause why her appointment should not be rescinded? It begs the question as to whether this action rescinding everyone’s appointment was in retaliation for our process server’s defense.
Deb Duchon, President