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Augusta's chief judge will retire to resolve ethics probe

Augusta's chief judge will retire to resolve ethics probe

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Augusta Superior Court Chief Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. gave up his supervisory authority and will leave the bench in June to settle an investigation into allegations of ethics violations, according to an agreement he made with Georgia’s judicial disciplinary board.

The signed order was filed with the state Supreme Court on Monday, court documents show.

Complaints were made about Brown to the Judicial Qualifications Commission for showing nepotism and favoritism, attempting to improperly influence the appointment of judges and inserting himself into plea negotiations, according to the court filing.

While the documents show the misconduct allegations were a factor in his retirement, Brown told WRDW-TV his health was, too.

“I’m at a season where I need to because of some medical challenges to focus on myself and my family," the judge said. “After 26 years, it’s a good point to do that.”

Under the agreement, Brown — who has presided over Superior Courts in Burke, Columbia and Richmond Counties since 2016 — was required to give up his administrative and supervisory powers as chief judge immediately.

The 72-year-old will continue holding office through June 30, the last day the Augusta Judicial Court is expected to operate before the circuit splits, according to The Augusta Chronicle.

Gov. Brian Kemp accepted Brown’s resignation letter April 27 and Brown signed the agreement April 30, according to documents filed in court with the consent order.

Brown was appointed as a Superior Court judge in 1994 and won elections to remain in office. He was challenged once in 2016. Before that, he served as the judge at the Augusta Municipal Court and practiced law for 21 years.

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