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Remove judge from office

Our two national organizations, National Down Syndrome Society and National Down Syndrome Congress, are dedicated to serving and advocating for individuals with Down syndrome.

We are outraged by Judge Christopher McFadden’s recent overturned ruling of a jury’s guilty verdicts against William Jeffrey Dumas. Dumas was convicted of repeatedly raping a young woman with Down syndrome on Oct. 18, 2010.

According to his ruling, Judge Christopher McFadden claims that a new trial is necessary because the victim (who happens to have Down syndrome) waited a day before reporting the rape, and because she did not behave like a rape victim.

We’d like to ask the question, “How should a rape victim act – disability or non-disability?”

This ruling reflects an astonishing and dehumanizing view of an individual with a disability – in this case the young woman with Down syndrome. We condemn the judge’s actions.

Every person has a different way of coping with traumatic situations, and, this includes people with Down syndrome. We would like to know, how she was “supposed” to act after being repeatedly raped? Has some sort of standard been set for this or is this entirely judgmental?

The trial testimony established evidence that Dumas’ semen was found on the bed on which the woman slept the night of the attack.

Additionally, the doctor who examined the woman had made findings that were consistent with a woman who had been forcibly raped. Does someone’s behavior trump hard evidence in court?

A judge’s personal, ignorant, and ill-informed beliefs should not be part of deciding a case.

We envision a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities.

People with disabilities, like all people, deserve to be treated as valued citizens and not referred to in a hurtful manner for any purpose.

More often than not, people with Down syndrome are underestimated their whole lives by people who focus on their disability, rather than their abilities, and who perpetuate outdated stereotypes.

Today, people with Down syndrome work, live independently, get married, and contribute to society in all different ways.

We are pleased that Judge McFadden has stepped away from this case, however, our organizations demand that the state of Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission begin proceedings to remove him from office.

We support a petition calling for McFadden’s removal. We hope that the governor moves swiftly to appoint a new judge and that justice is done with the conviction being reinstated.

Sara Hart Weir
Vice President of Advocacy & Affiliate Relations for the National Down Syndrome Society

Susan Goodman
Director of Government Affairs for the National Down Syndrome Congress
Washington, D.C.



Before asking for something so serious as having a Judge removed from office, perhaps the spokespeople for this organization should read the Judges entire order and his real reason for reversing the conviction. It was proven in a Court hearing that this Defendant was provided ineffective assistance of counsel during his trial and that was the reason for the reversal. It had nothing to do with how the victim or the defendant behaved. The District Attorney had the opportunity to object to this judge sitting on the bench during the trial and he had the opportunity to object to how the entire trial was being run - he didn't.

Concerned Citizen's picture

Please read paragraph one line three of the judges order. It clearly states that you are, well, WRONG.

Ok - it means the evidence the jury heard was enough to sustain the conviction - doesn't include what the jury didn't hear or what they heard and weren't supposed to hear. There are plenty of cases where the evidence was sufficient but the case was still overturned for other reasons. Here, the media is just picking out particular, partial sentences and using them completely out of context because, when taken out of context, it sounds outrageous.
Read the whole order. This was done in response to the Defendants motion for a new trial and evidence was presented at the hearing on that motion and the judge could consider that evidence as well. The judge didn't just decide to overturn a juries verdict. The motion was brought to him, he heard evidence from both sides on the motion and he made his decision based on law, rather than emotion. That's exactly the kind of judge that should be on the bench.

G35 Dude's picture

I'm not a lawyer. But if a defendant is provided ineffective counsel isn't it up to the defendant to find new counsel and seek retrial? And why would the DA object to this judge sitting on the bench for this trial? It's my understanding that each person has a role to play in our justice system. The DA attempts to prove guilt. Defense attorney tries to prove innocence. The judge makes sure both sides play fair. If one of the parties doesn't do his job a retrial should be granted. But for a judge to reverse his ruling and even mention the victims behavior in relation to why he did seems way out of line to me.

So are you saying that the Citizen's initial reporting on this issue was incomplete, inaccurate, or both?

So are you saying that the Citizen's initial reporting on this issue was incomplete, inaccurate, or both?

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