The Georgia Supreme Court says An Athens judge must receive a public reprimand for detaining and berating an Athens bail bondsman who had criticized the judge on social media: it’s the latest twist in the case of Superior Court judge Eric Norris, who has apologized for the episode that happened back in 2019.
Judge Norris says he asked to meet with a bail bondsman who publicly trashed the judge’s decision to grant bond to an accused rapist.
The bondsman claims that during that July 2019 meeting, the judge berated him, wouldn’t let him call his attorney and kept him in the judge’s chambers when he wanted to leave.
Norris told the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission in hearing last November it was not just the criticism that bothered, but that he felt a social media post took the issue too far.
“Rapist on the loose,” he recalled the post as saying. “That concerned me because the person had not been convicted.”
Norris said he felt as though the bail bondsman had a higher responsibility to be truthful because of his position.
One allegation Norris continues to deny is that he did not allow the bondsman to leave the office, which included the judge’s armed guard.
“Did [the bondsman] ask to leave?,” Norris was asked while on the stand.
“He never said that,” Norris responded.
When his attorney asked Norris if he knew the meeting was a mistake and should have been canceled as soon as it started, he replied, “Absolutely.”
“I just made a mistake. It was a bad mistake. I lost my cool,” he explained.
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