G. McConway
August 18, 2023

GA Supreme Court Removes Appeals Judge from Bench

Well, this is a first…

The Georgia Supreme Court handed down a scathing ruling this week to hold an appellate judge accountable for stretching the rules, reported ABA Journal.

Atlanta News First reported, “Christian Coomer, appointed by former Gov. Nathan Deal in 2018, was accused of flouting ethics rules on how a lawyer should treat a client and of looting his campaign account to pay for a family vacation to Hawaii and loans to keep his struggling law firm afloat.”

Removed from the Bench

Charges were first brought against Judge Coomer by the Judicial Qualifications Commission in December 2020.

While Coomer has been suspended since then, he has also been drawing a tasty paycheck of $179,000.

The ruling, which was 50 pages long, paints a picture of a judge that would throw ethics out the window when it benefitted his personal life. The timing of this case could not be more appropriate with all of the allegations being tossed at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas right now, although the cases have nothing in common.

Coomer reportedly accepted a $130,000 loan with extremely favorable terms. He also reportedly created a trust and will for the client that made him and his heirs the beneficiaries of the client.

Coomer did pay back the loan, but it took a lawsuit to make it happen.

A former state legislator, Coomer was also accused of dipping into campaign funds for trips. Like we see many legislators do today, he tagged the trip as a campaign event, but it was a family vacation.

In the decision, the court stated that Judge Coomer “exploited a vulnerable person, has repeatedly violated campaign finance rules and flouted professional norms, and has done so knowingly and for his own personal financial benefit.

“By demonstrating a pattern of refusing to comply with the law and professional norms when noncompliance was in his interest, he has undermined the public’s trust in his ability to follow and apply the law honestly and fairly in cases that come before him.”

Coomer can ask the court to reconsider its decision, but he is otherwise removed from the bench and his career is over.

Good riddance.

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