The letter dated April 23 states, “Please accept my resignation as superior court judge of the Griffin Judicial Circuit, effective April 30, 2010. It has been a privilege to serve the people of Georgia for 35 years, and specifically the citizens of the Griffin Judicial Circuit. It is with great remorse that I tender my resignation, but it is time for me and my family to concentrate on a different direction in our lives.”
English’s resignation comes only four days after that of Superior Court Judge Johnnie Caldwell.
Following his resignation, Caldwell also signed a consent order agreeing to not seek or accept judicial office.
Caldwell’s actions followed an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) regarding alleged sexual harassment.
Caldwell later acknowledged inappropriate behavior with a woman, though denied that it was work-related or had any bearing on any case in which he was involved.
According to Spalding County District Attorney Scott Ballard — who was on Tuesday interviewed by Richard Hyde, a JQC investigator, regarding Caldwell — English’s resignation did not come as a surprise.
“He (Hyde) asked me questions about him (English) when he talked to me. That’s one of the reasons I wasn’t surprised when they (the JQC) came after him, too,” Ballard said.
When asked if the questions Hyde asked with regard to English pertained to the complaint investigation involving Caldwell, Ballard said, “Some of it was. The JQC, if they investigated his failure to immediately report Judge Caldwell’s alleged comments, the investigation would become quite broad, and that was something I don’t believe he (English) was willing to go through — that’s something almost no one would want to go through.”
While he firmly believes in a system of judicial oversight and accountability, Ballard expressed concern that the resignations of Caldwell and English may cause mistrust of the judicial system.
“Judges are held to an extremely high standard for their conduct and are subjected to extreme scrutiny,” he said. “What may seem to the rest of us as a very minor infraction is treated very harshly by the JQC.”