Everyone knows the wheels of justice can grind slowly. Sometimes frustratingly so. And things don’t always go the way you’d like them to. But that’s something a judge just needs to sack up and deal with. There are good reasons that one of the criteria on which jurists are evaluated is their judicial temperament. We don’t know who judges judges in North Georgia, but it seems highly likely that Lumpkin County Superior Court Judge David Barrett’s judicial temperament rating is gonna take a hit in his next evaluation . . .
Barrett seemed put out during a bond hearing on Wednesday for a former sheriff’s deputy, Scott Sugarman, who’d been arrested on rape and assault charges. From ajc.com:
The woman who filed the charges against Sugarman was on the witness stand and had testified Sugarman had abused her and, on one occasion, had put a gun to her head. During the latter part of her testimony, the woman was not being cooperative, Langley said.
Barrett told the woman she was “killing her case” and pulled out his gun and, feigning to offer it to her, said, “You might as well shoot your lawyer,” [District Attorney Jeff] Langley said.
It’s hard not to sympathize with Judge Barrett, at least a little bit. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with an attorney – let alone someone like His Honor who has to contend with them on a daily basis – can certainly understand the judge’s desire to see one plugged. But whipping out his piece in open court may not be the preferred way to express that sentiment. But that’s just us.
And maybe the only thing worse than his judgement in choosing to display his pistol in open court were the maddened magistrate’s gunhandling habits.
The woman’s lawyer, Andrea Conarro of Dahlonega, on Saturday described the scene, as Barrett swept the pistol across the courtroom, “as one of those slow motion kind of events.”
It took a few words from District Attorney Langley to get the Barrett to put the heater back under his robes. The good news: it’s legal under Georgia law for judges to pack heat in a courtroom. The bad news: pointing it at someone – as in sweeping the courtroom – is another matter.
Meanwhile, the local Judicial Qualifications Commission has launched an investigation into the judge’s behavior. And while that process will likely drag out, the IGOTD jury needs no further deliberation, your honor. We hereby find the defendant, Judge David Barrett, guilty of being our latest Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day. And we sentence the annoyed adjudicator to display his award prominently in his courtroom for a period of not less than ninety days. Case dismissed.