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Deputy discovered judge, defense attorney in subdivision

Well more than a year and a half ago, a Fayette County sheriff’s deputy came across a suspicious vehicle parked in a subdivision under construction, in the middle of the workday.

Little did he know that inside the car he would find a Superior Court judge along with a public defender. The judge was Chief Superior Court Judge Paschal A. English Jr. and the defense attorney was Kim Cornwell, facts confirmed today by Fayette County Sheriff Wayne Hannah.

A purported “improper intimate relationship” between English and Cornwell is being investigated by Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard and Public Defender Joe Saia. The investigation was ordered two weeks ago by Superior Court Judge Christopher C. Edwards two days before English served his last day on the bench, having tendered his resignation the previous week.

Hannah said he did not know the circumstances behind why Judge English and attorney Cornwell were in the vehicle in the subdivision. The incident took place before Hannah took office as sheriff, and he said he has not asked for an accounting of the incident because it did not occur “on my watch.”

“If the deputy said they were talking or not, I don’t know,” Hannah said. “I really don’t know.”

Attempts to reach English and Cornwell for comment have been unsuccessful as of this writing.

If there was some sort of personal relationship between English and Cornwell, it would be suspect that English would not have recused himself from cases involving Cornwell, who has been the lead public defender on several high-profile cases in the past several years.

Sheriff Hannah said it would be unlikely that the deputy’s investigation of the suspicious car containing English and Cornwell would have generated any type of written report. Typically as long as the occupants are law abiding, they might be allowed to stay or perhaps asked to leave the area depending on the circumstances, Hannah said.

Public Defender Joe Saia said two weeks ago that his office conducted a detailed examination of Cornwell’s cases in front of Judge English to see if there was any apparent prejudice when comparing the outcome of her clients to those of the office’s other two attorneys. Saia said that part of the probe detected no such bias.

District Attorney Scott Ballard said today that he would not comment on any aspect of the investigation at this point. Previously he has said he hasn’t been able to detect any bias for or against Cornwell in cases she had before Judge English.

Sheriff Hannah said Ballard’s office has already interviewed the deputy who found English and Cornwell in the vehicle, and if there is any other way his office can help with the investigation, it will.

English tendered his resignation last month, four days after fellow Superior Court Judge Johnnie L. Caldwell Jr. resigned in the wake of an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission. Caldwell soon after publicly admitted to making inappropriate comments to female attorneys.

Several days later, The Citizen learned that Caldwell’s resignation followed the revelation of him making sexually charged comments to ... and about ... Peachtree City divorce attorney Susan Brown. The comments became part of a divorce case because Brown, in a private discussion with Judge Edwards, contended Caldwell had entered unfair rulings in the case due to the alleged sexual harassment.

Brown told The Citizen that in fall 2008 she informed Chief Judge English about Caldwell’s inappropriate remarks to her, but English took no action and instead told her to work the matter out with Caldwell on her own.

Edwards, who was presiding over the divorce case in question, made sure that attorneys for all parties were aware of the allegation of judicial bias because of the potential impact it may have had on the case. In an effort to try the two and a half year old case, Edwards asked attorneys to waive objections to all previous orders entered in the case, but ultimately he had a new attorney appointed for the wife in the case whom Brown was representing.

That attorney, Gary Freed of Atlanta, later filed a motion asking Edwards to recuse himself from the case, further delaying the trial. Edwards was hoping to try the case to avoid such a delay as the guardian ad litem for the couple’s two children had suggested.



I predicted John Mrosek from the start. It's interesting to see how many people are looking to be appointed against how many people will actually try to get elected.

Doesn't it bother anyone else that a twice ran and twice defeated attorney is being pushed by a former mayor very hard. Seems that if the county is looking to avoid the old politic connections and get some honest, non-connected judges, Mr. Mrosek is still not the candidate. Just take a look at Mr. Browns endorsement or the AJD article that quotes only Mr. Brown and Mr. Mrosek (apparently the only attorney at the courthouse). Let's hope the judicial selection is more interested in finding a qualified judge than a politically connected wanna be and I'll nominate my self first.

It bothers me a lot. I hope my post doesn't make you think I want Mrosek in, and it's no secret that I'm not a fan of Steve Brown.

An appointment for John Mrosek would almost guarantee he is elected. If you recall, Fayette County voters favored Mrosek last time. And with Scott Ballard and Warren Sellers on the list, there is just too many opportunities for those questionable connections to continue.

Now, Pat Fox....There is a name I was surprised to see. He might be the one to watch for.

After reviewing the names on the nominations list, there are some outstanding credentials on that list. State Judge Sams has a very good record and is well connected in Fayette county. There are several trial attorneys that have outstanding records beyond Fayette, Pike and Upson counties. Check some of them out on Martindale Hubbell for ratings or for educations, etc. They may not have the political connections or history, but they certainaly look like oustanding jurists (and isn't that what we should want for our courts?).

iRonin's picture

Judge Sams is the most logical choice for the job.

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

<strong>DELETED for violation of copyright law and violation of terms of service</strong>

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

in a most unflattering light...perhaps he requires a "looking into" as well!

If you think Mr. Connell is doing something other than serving on a banks board with a now former judge then report him for investigation..

You seem to have an agenda here in cutting and pasting the AJC article verbatim and now wanting an attorney "looked into"

Who might you be positivelysouthernbelle ?? Inquiring minds would love to know..

If you think Mr. Connell is doing something other than serving on a banks board with a now former judge then report him for investigation..

You seem to have an agenda here in cutting and pasting the AJC article verbatim and now wanting an attorney "looked into"

Who might you be positivelysouthernbelle ?? Inquiring minds would love to know..

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

"I recently had a friend divorce in another circuit
His now Ex was represented by Ms Brown -- They very simply split and had a couple of issues for mediation... Several months later after a variety of delays and continuances,, they settled for what was originally discussed ..

Unfortunately for some lawyers it's all about the face time and the money."
Your post from 4-24

Seems you have a prob. with Ms Brown~

I have a problem with any lawyer who drags things out takes something to court and asks for continuances and is worried not about their client but about there own pay day...

I am not here as a judge but I do know an agenda when i see one.

We all agree that no one wants to be represented by any counsel that pads their bill by using continuances and other legal methods.

The issue here is that we all should be able to walk into any courtroom in the land and reasonably expect that justice will be served without any bias due to relationships of any kind between the judge and any of the involved parties. This is a simple and fundemental expectation.

Unfortunately, when relationships of any kind exist between the judge and any party in front of them, the perception is that bias of some kind will exist. This is why every judge has the ability to recuse themselves without stating a reason and either party can request a new judge, just because. The nature relationship is no one's business if this happens.

The problems that have arisen in the Circuit Court come from the failure of judges to recuse themselves when they should have. I do understand that in a small pool, there is only so much you can do. But this is no excuse. Justice must be blind and it can't be if the judge has a relationship of any kind with one of the parties.

In Crook v. Crook, the allegations state that there are relationships of various natures with both parties Attorneys. Based on the resulting resignation, one perceives that the allegations have some validity. This is unacceptable.

One should also be to expect that judges will live up to the highest ethical standards as prescribed within the laws they swear to uphold. One of these is that when you see something wrong, you report it. Now Chief Judge Edwards did not report it, he tried to bury the allegations, whether he saw them or not, through the use of Agreed Order that both parties were asked to sign under duress. His claim that he was trying to keep the best interests of the children as his excuse not to uphold the law is convoluted at best. Would anyone really think that allowing rulings over two years from a series of biased judges that lay the groundwork for everything from custody and visitation to future support is in the children's best interests?

I do not think that anyone here is out to do anything other than elevate the discourse about justice within the legal system that is supposed to serve us all equally.

Anything else is up to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and the voters.

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

This was posted on the Citizen 4-23

"Something else stinks on the divorce case
Caldwell and the estranged husband's attorney Alan Connell are on a board of bank together.....isn't that a conflict of interest??? He should have recused himself a long time ago!

Checkout West Central Georgia Bank website

Board of Directors

Jesse E. Rogers, Jr. – Chairman of the Board
Johnnie L. Caldwell, Jr.
Kenneth E. Coggins
Alan W. Connell
James A. Robinson, Jr.
Jeffrey Rogers
Charles D. Short"

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

"Connell.....what a joke
One of your Thomaston brethren here ol' Alan. Your antics are widely known. The internet is your worst enemy. So much information at everyone's fingertips. You really wanted this case over quickly? Then why did the defense have to file a motion for contempt in March 2010 because your client didn't comply with court ordered discovery? How could the case possibly move forward? Keep spinning that tale ol' Alan. I have a broken watch...and even it's correct twice a day. More than I can say for you."
4-24-10 post by Thomaston_Born

Just more food for thought there Jack old boy!

Yet you don't want to share much here... Why not call Munford and give him the scoop?

[quote=positivelysouthernbelle]<strong>DELETED for violation of copyright law and violation of terms of service</strong>[/quote]

<a href=" is the LINK to the AJC article in question</a>

Absolutely NO ONE in the Griffin judicial circuit comes out clean in this mess.

English shows a blatant contempt for attorneys "Don't file anything...I'll throw it in the trash".

Caldwell needs to have his license to practice law permanently revoked.

Cal Beverly's pet judge Edwards seemed more interested in covering the asses of his judicial brethren than doing his job until the heat got too great, at which time he prudently threw his judicial brethren under the proverbial bus to save his own posterior.

DA Ballard the Dullard thumbs his nose at the public, saying there ain't nothin' wrong with him doin' some fine investigatin' when he himself is a judicial replacement candidate.

English and his little love muffin were apparently an "open secret", according to the Barnesville news, dating back to when she threw a coming home party for English post-Survivor.

mbest's picture

The love muffin is not Susan Brown it's the public defender. Brown is the one who threw the survivor party. I was there and can tell you, the public defender was NOT there.

Just keeping the story straight.

Read the transcript. If it WASN'T for Edwards, this stuff would've remained hush-hush. You see, he had Mrs. Brown fully explain the allegations to counsel for both sides. At that point, the proverbial beans were spilled.

Edwards also ordered up an outside attorney for the defendant (wife) to review whether or not a recusal should be sought in the case. (this added another set of loose lips and that attorney, Gary Freed, was most likely the one who filed the JQC complaint on Caldwell).

Were Edwards to cover his fellow judges' butts, he would've kept his mouth shut, tried the case (and been guilty himself of not bringing prejudicial information forward in the case), etc. But he did NOT do that.

And you're confusing English's love muffin, which was NOT Susan Brown.

I don't know the families of any of the named participants in this situation - but there are so many more victims than is being reported in the news articles. Namely - the families of all involved. It is important for us all to remember that we don't live in a vacuum - and our actions have far reaching effects on every member of our family. This is truly a tragedy for all involved. Careers are ruined, reputations questioned. Sad.

mbest's picture

I especially don't think family and friends of either side of the divorce should be blogging. The situation does not need to be agravated any further.

P.S. I am neither family or friends of either side.

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

This has nothing to do with Mr. Crook (freudian slip on your part?)

A judge that has a friendly relationship beyond the courtroom (and money makes strange bedfellows ie: bank board in case you are not grapsing the thought)as Alan Connell does with Caldwell, made it unethical to say the least tht he did not recuse himself from any of Caldwell's cases. There are many others cases beyond Crook that I am sure did not get a fair hearing.

To take it a step further, he also had his hand in English's pocket, as
shown by English storming Edward's courtroom (Crook case) and having a loud meeting in the back for all to hear. Whom do you think let English know about that, Connell would be a logical guess.

Go ahead, your turn!

I am not sure why you are standing up for a Judge that tried to force two parties to sign away their legal rights to thier due process, specifically the right to appeal any decision made by a Judge where there was an admited inappropriate relationship with one of the attorneys.

I am not sure why you are standing up for a Judge that didn't immediately execute his sworn oath to notify the JQC when he learned of the inappropriate relationship.

I am not sure why you are sticking up for a Judge that ordered the Public Defender to investigate his own office instead of using his power to request an independent investigation.

I am not sure why you are sticking up for a Judge that ordered the District Attorney to investigate the Court where he practices, instead of requesting an independent investigation.

I have my theories, based on the very rudementary powers of deduction, but they are just speculation.

So, why are you sticking up for now Chief Judge Edwards?

'Cause there's a difference between knowing a fact and hearing a rumor. If the rumors are credible enough then an investigation is ordered.

The inside investigation has a pretty big benefit: a TON of local folks are scared. Those who have skeletons in the closet will end up "retiring" or "having a health scare" and the like. Hell, Ballard's got to be scared because if he pooh-poohs it, he's likely to get bounced next election. Pressure's on him to ferret it out.

The GBI, etc would only whitewash an investigation 'cause they don't care. Feds have much bigger fish to fry. JQC is out unless someone can prove Edwards knew of English-Cornwell well in advance, which I seriously doubt. But I've been wrong before though...

The only facts I know are those as reported in the media. I agree that rumors aren't worth the paper they are printed on. I hope you are right, and those that have no business being in their current roles decide to spend more time with their families.

I do have a problem with allowing people that have committed crimes, but never stuck around long enough to be charged, tried, and found guilty to leave and collect government pensions. That is the main reason I think there needs to be an independent investigation. It doesn't need to be GBI, it could be any outside attorney without a dog in the hunt to be appointed as a Special Prosecutor. As you state, the current DA has a reason to do something. I am just not convince that something is everything.

AnonRegisteredVoter's picture

If you boil this down to basics for those who slept through ethics class.... The judges were using their position on the bench to get hot young attorney booty. The end.

I think Judge Edwards first instinct was to cover it up. That says a lot.

I think Cornwell is one of those attorneys who went all in to get her clients off so she can charge a nice large fee.

I think Brown got highly offended when caldwell tried to bring her into the game.

You missed the boat on some of your comments. First, regardless of what else she may or may not have done, Ms. Cornwell is certainly not gaining any "nice large fee" as a Public Defender. In fact, they are paid very little for the services and hours that they put in. They are county/state paid and definitely are not paid by clients (they must be indigent to receive a court appointed attorney) regardless of the outcome. Also, you feel that "Brown got highly offended" after reporting an incident that happened as much as 3 years ago and continued numerous social outings with Judge Caldwell in attendance. Not sure how offended she was that it took that long to surface. And finally, so much of the improprities have come to light because of Judge Edward's ethical actions. Not sure what he himself was covering up. Someone had to step up and take action, and unfortunately, Judge Ewards is taking a great deal of misplaced heat.

I stated this thread is written by the Citizern and is about the Judge , The Public defender and there sitting in a car in a housing development under construction.
It is not about Crook V Crook or about Susan Brown, though it seems your determined that it should be.. enjoy yourself..

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

I think you meant to say "they're". What great institute of higher learning did you hail from?

Probably the same institute that taught you to end your sentence in a preposition.

The Wedge's picture

so often we complain about the speck in another's eyes, whilst disregarding the plank lodged in our own eye. Thanks for pointing that concept out to another :-)

positivelysouthernbelle's picture


Does your mommy know you're up this late?

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

I have pointed out how entirely incorrect you are.
I am happy with that.. Have a good night!

The Wedge's picture

is faulty logic. You pointed out errors in grammatical construction--a relatively useless concept in a local blog--and pointed these errors out while making errors yourself. Ironic perhaps, hypocritical perhaps, but amusing, definitely. Pull out your learnings from cotillion and try again.

"Thank you Sir--may I Please have another!

The Wedge's picture

what a wit you are!

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

Prepositions MUST be placed at end of sentences when the sentence begins with an interrogative pronoun i.e. Where, What, Which etc.
It is CORRECT to say "Where are you from?" "What did you step on?" "Which person do you want to be with?"

Go on...try again!

AnonRegisteredVoter's picture

Did the officer that found them get fired??

The 5-0's picture

Why would the deputy be fired?

AnonRegisteredVoter's picture

Did I say he did? I asked if he did. Do you always answer questions with questions?

wait for the truth without further comment.


positivelysouthernbelle's picture

And the truth will come out, one way or another.

Glad to see your back...I for one am waiting for the truth...

end of's been going on for years....

Folks having hanky can have all the rules you want about it, and it won't make one hill of beans difference.

Totally agree--- had they been kids they would have found themselves, heels locked, in front of a judge.

the want to call everyone in front of a Judge for a little hanky panky.

Had they had been kids, they should have been warned and told to get home. :)


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