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Augusta chief judge retires under deal to end investigation

Carl C. Brown Jr.
Carl C. Brown Jr.(WRDW)
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. is retiring, and official documents confirm it’s under the cloud of an investigation.

His exit is part of a deal to resolve the investigation, according to documents of the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission. He told News 12 his health was a factor, as well.

Brown submitted his resignation to Gov. Brian Kemp in a letter dated April 21. Kemp accepted the resignation April 27.

“I am resigning effective June 30th,” Brown told News 12. “I’m at a season where I need to because of some medical challenges to focus on myself and my family. After 26 years, it’s a good point to do that.”

A commission document states that he was being investigated over a complaint concerning allegations of judicial misconduct, including:

  • “Whether Judge Brown engaged in conduct, actions, and/or appointments regarding employees of the Juvenile Court of the Augusta Judicial Circuit that constituted nepotism and favoritism,” and thus violated the rules.
  • “Whether Judge Brown engaged in conduct and actions regarding the Magistrate Court of Burke County attempting to improperly influence decisions regarding appointments” in violation of the rules.
  • “Whether Judge Brown improperly inserted himself into the plea negotiation process” against the rules.

A consent agreement signed by Brown states that the exit is part of a deal to resolve the investigation.

“Judge Brown has agreed to submit his resignation to Governor Brian Kemp upon signing this consent agreement, the resignation to be effective June 30, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.,” the consent agreement states.

“Judge Brown hereby agrees that he will immediately relinquish any administrative and/or supervisory duties and involvement with the Juvenile Courts and Magistrate Courts of the counties in the Augusta Judicial Circuit,” the agreement states.

It states that he may upon retirement seek appointment as a senior superior court judge but he agrees he will not seek, request or accept any other elective or appointed judicial office in the future.

Further, he can’t accept or exercise any administrative and/or supervisory duties related to any other court in the circuit, according to the consent decree.

A senior judge is a judge in retired or semi-retired status.

Brown told News 12 that his health factored into the agreement.

“And with respect to all of that, my focus is on getting well and family,” he said.

He said he hopes at some point in the future he can make some additional contributions to society, but doesn’t know yet what those will be.

As for what the job will be between now and June 30, he is still the chief judge. But he just got out of the hospital and is on medical leave.

He will continue performing limited chief judge duties that he can, but duties like sitting in on cases will be handled by other judges.

Once he retires, those cases will be assumed by other judges. He says procedures are in place to deal with situations like this.

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