Time for Judge Brenda Weaver to leave the bench

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Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit ought to resign, having demonstrated an astonishing lack of respect for the authority vested in that office and for the basic civil liberties that the judiciary was created to protect.

Weaver has instead abused that authority in a misguided attempt to protect herself from the scrutiny that every public official must accept as part of accepting a public paycheck and exercising public powers. It is inconceivable, given the willful nature of her actions, that she be allowed to remain in office.

If Weaver refuses to step down on her own, the state Judicial Qualifications Commission ought to begin the process of removing her through the means laid out in the law. And yes, the inconvenient fact that Weaver chairs the state Judicial Qualifications Commission does make the process a little more complicated.

However, it doesn’t alter what should happen. To the contrary, it compounds the importance of Weaver’s swift departure from office. If Weaver lacks the self-reflection needed to understand the gravity of her mistake — and so far that seems to be the case — then others have a responsibility to step in.

You probably know the story by now, but let’s recap briefly:

The two main parties are Weaver, chief judge of the Appalachian circuit, and a local newspaper publisher. In recent months the two had taken up opposing sides in one of those convoluted, overheated tales of poisonous small-town politics, and it all came to a head when Thomason tried to obtain copies of checks written on a public checking account controlled by Weaver.

Thomason claims that his request was investigative journalism; the judge claims it was part of a vendetta against her. In either case, Weaver overreacted badly. She demanded that the local district attorney seek Thomason’s indictment, arrest and jailing on trumped-up, legally absurd felony charges of identity fraud and making false statements.

Appalachian Circuit District Attorney Alison Sosebee — a supposedly independent actor, with supposedly independent judgment — acceded to the judge’s imperious demands, a decision that calls into question her own professional credibility. Thomason was arrested, charged, fingerprinted and jailed, as was his attorney.

It’s important to stress the groundless nature of those charges. Thomason was perfectly within his rights to seek the information in question, and there is zero evidence to sustain the claim that he intended to use the information for criminal purposes. On the other hand, there is substantial evidence that Weaver and Sosebee attempted to use the considerable powers of their offices to punish, intimidate and silence Thomason.

That is not, to put it mildly, a legitimate use of judicial or prosecutorial power. It is telling that once details of the story began to appear in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other media outside Pickens County, Weaver and her cohorts began to shrink further into the shadows, unable and unwilling to defend what they had done. Last week, the charges against Thomason and his attorney, were dropped.

That doesn’t end the case, however. Judges are accountable to the law too, even in Pickens County.

Reader Comments 0

392 comments
Watcher
Watcher

Great Bookman commentary... Sosebee will also have to resign. Weaver and Sosebee should be considered for disbarment!

Watcher
Watcher

Great Bookman commentary

DecaturDramaQueen
DecaturDramaQueen

This case all started in Blue Ridge, in the Fannin County courthouse with a judge referring to a defendant using the n-word. The court reporter failed to insert the n-word in several places in the transcripts, and the reporter filed an open records request to obtain the tapes. The court reporter then sued the reporter for $1.5 million for "slander". With no way to prevail in the suit, the court reporter dropped the suit, but filed another suit against the reporter, suing him for her legal expenses in suing him. However those legal expenses had already been paid for by the judge who used the n-word in court (he stepped down from the bench). The court reporter claims she was trying to pay it back by insisting the reporter pay for her legal expenses (to sue him) so the reporter filed an open records request for the checks that reimbursed her from the judge's public expense account. That's when Weaver went after the reporter and his attorney, jailing them for "false statements in an open records request" (which isn't a crime) and saying he wanted the information so he could commit financial fraud. After the arrest, the reporter had to comply with drug testing, random searches and had to stay 100 yards away from the Fannin Co. Courthouse, effectively keeping him from doing his job. The whole affair stinks to high heavens, and Judge Weaver and Alison Sosebee should both be removed from their jobs for such disgraceful behavior. 

JayBook
JayBook moderator

Fresh convention sheets above

gotalife
gotalife

"They knocked it out of the park" gop on cnn.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@gotalife Donald Trump is pissed.  Look for major F ups in 140 characters from the thin skinned monster.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Seriously though, would only be fitting for the introduction of this 'Goldwater Girl' for her to be introduced by her hero Henry Kissinger.

gotalife
gotalife

The gop convention was America sux.


The next level after 8 years of zero patriotism.

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@gotalife I know.  That's the usual position of the Dems.  What's down is up and what's up is down.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

"What have you sacrificed? "

My valuable time here in a futile outreach to libs lost in the the delusion free stuff is a constitutional right.

A burden I bear to better mankind.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Another lost soul in need of Philo's Six Step Program to individual independence.

Log on to PhiloRocks.com for details.

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Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

A separate website available only to Gold Medallion Members.

rimsky
rimsky

"Hillary hate" stems from misogyny////////

That is so true.

gotalife
gotalife

The most informative, highly emotional and best organized convention I have seen.


Take a bow Debbie.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

 This whole convention has been nothing but a parade of liberal malcontents: sad-sacks, race pim ps, grievance professionals, free stuff advocates, wealth haters, terrorist deniers, welfare whiners, weep-easies, etc.

-

And cops. 

Don't forget cops.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

This whole convention has been nothing but a parade of liberal malcontents: sad-sacks, race pim ps, grievance professionals, free stuff advocates, wealth haters, terrorist deniers, welfare whiners, weep-easies, etc.

Kinda sad, actually.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Philo_Farnsworth What have you sacrificed?  We understand your frustrations all Republicans have to show to the world is a bloviating orange idiot.  In other words you have nothing.

TBS
TBS

@skydog12 @Philo_Farnsworth 

Funny thing is that he has posted the same or a similar comment each night this week.

Must have taken a few weeks to come up with it and damn it he is going to copy and paste it until the cows come home

NWGAL
NWGAL

Sad sacks like the police and veterans? Like this general speaking so strongly for her as Comander in Chief? Basically, the Democrats have crushed Trump in this convention.

gotalife
gotalife

Here come our veterans led by General Allen..

TBS
TBS

@Visual_Cortex 

That seems to get lost in some of the broad brushed Muslim bashing we see and hear all too often.


PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@TBS @Visual_Cortex  Not to mention that quite a number of "Muslim refugees" from Iraq  are people who acted  as interpreters and other agents for the US military after 2003.