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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.



this gives new (old) meaning to "here come da judge, here come da judge....."

Couldn't resist.

Can't blame a girl for tryin' to get ahead, can you?

Oops. couldn't resist that either.

was to give you a hand with that....but I usually come up short.

No body's purrrfect.

What more could anybody say!!

Kimmy kept Pappy happy?

Both are nothing but PIGS

This is insane. Shouldn't it take a 10 minute conversation (under oath) to determine if there was an inappropriate relationship here? How hard can this be? And I don't get all the time they're spending on the cases that Carnwell had before Judge English. What about all the cases that settled before ever getting in front of English because they knew Carnwell was on the other side and she had the inside track with the Judge? This is such a farse. The more Ballard and Saia try to defend how they're handling this the more ridiculous they look.

to judge?

Ha, gotcha.

I think Pappy thought he was back playing Survivor again.

He thought he could Outlast and Outplay.

He still thinks he won the Immunity Challenge.

He definitely didn't expect to go to Tribal Council.

And, in his mind, he doesn't need to go before The Jury.

Funny things happen when you have to go to work in a black robe.

Hey,did I just Outwit?


I hope I never have to make a claim against my insurance policies with Ms. Crook. I'm afraid there won't be any money to pay out since she's spent all this money on her attorneys.

mbest's picture

Weren't you a Division Commander over the deputy in question when this happened? And isn't this the sort of thing that is suppossed to show up in a police report? Two people nude in a public place, presumably not playing monopoly? Wouldn't that be a required written incident report if it were you and I? No probably not you, but me and everybody else.

That is probably the only real unknown in this "investigation". How much covering up was going on? Were there other incidents involving deputies walking in on things that should have been documented but were not? Scott Ballard is definitely not the one to investigate it. Maybe the Citizen will.

Also why no photo of the Public Defender? Pashcal's picture's been on the front page for weeks. Isn't she a public figure as well?

mbest's picture


Uh, I think if things had been covered up, there wouldn't have been a police report.

mbest's picture

That's why there's no details.

Sorry, didn't read it well. So, who or what is the source of this tidbit of information? The deputy? Must be, I doubt Pappy or Kimmy have blurted it out.

Kinda like the ride-a-long with the cop I did years ago. We pulled over a car with expired out of state plates. When the cop got the drivers license and came back to the cruiser to do a check, he said he thought he recognized the name and asked me if I recognized the name. I said, yes, I think he's a judge here in Fayette County. He had told the cop it was his mother-in-law's car and she had just moved here and he had forgotten to get her plate switched over. He and I discussed it, and it was explained to me that as a professional courtesy, the p.d. doesn't ticket judges for minor things. That was my education from the outside. Never forgot it. And, I wasn't surprised then and still am not.

ilockemup's picture

Had they been teenagers, a radically different result would have occurred.

[quote=ilockemup]Had they been teenagers, a radically different result would have occurred.[/quote]

<a href="">Yep, English might've faced 35 years hard time if he was a teenager</a>

I re-read the article and didn't read that. Please tell us it ain't so-

Okay, it ain't so. They were wearin' big 'ol smiles.

Looks like this is gonna play out tomorrow, probably on the front page of the Atlanta Journal. Bummer.

You got it partly right---it will appear in the "Metro" Section, not on the front page.

Thanks for the info.

AJC Story on Fayette Courthouse:

here it is ------------

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

That the AJC can take a tidbit and make a real story, while our local
paper doesn't even report. If they do, it's a compilation of the AJC article.

What is this paper really good for? This is the "juiciest" story in a long time around here (enough to make regional and possibly national news) and The Citizen is ignoring it!

Please note the title of this ARTICLE ==
""Deputy discovered judge, defense attorney in subdivision"" John Mumford.

This is a Citizen story not an AJC story and I have yet to see a deputy finds judge and attorney story (this one) in the AJC)..

That IS the story but you HIJACKED the thread cutting pasting the AJC story so you could get Crook V Crook back as the topic.

""This is the "juiciest" story in a long time around here (enough to make regional and possibly national news) and The Citizen is ignoring it!""

Why is that so ? Please enlighten us ??

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

see your agenda

You'd like Mr. Crook the husband investigated ??
That seems like it's getting a little personal..

From just reading te story about bad judges and a divorce case you as an outsider can determine one of the parties Crook V Crook needs to be investigated ??

Cal you may need to hire this one as a reporter sounds really eager !

I think y'all will find a little bit more in-depth reporting this morning in the AJC.

Just trying to be helpful.

The AJC article might have had more credibitlity had it not be centered around former mayor Brown's and his good friend John Mroseks opinions. Read more like a campaign opportunity than a factual article. Really, are we to believe that in the same article that quotes Brown that the reporter just happened to run into Mrosek at the courthouse. Guess we are all very stupid folks here in the southern counties.

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

"In an affidavit, Susan Brown said Caldwell made rulings against her client that contained information that was not brought up in court. “It appeared the rulings did not match the evidence,” Gary Freed, an attorney recently brought into the case by Brown, said in an interview last week. “It appeared [the husband’s] counsel had a close, working relationship with Judge Caldwell.”

That attorney, Alan Connell, and Caldwell are both directors on the board of the West Central Georgia Bank in Thomaston, according to the bank’s Web site. " from AJC article 5-16-10

But I suppose you will discredit the AJC as it is not as reputable as our Citizen!

You do seem to have an issue with the Crook family.

No one but an ex-Crook would have such resentment that they feel the need to blame this whole fiasco on them.


Another shining example of how one bad apple looks after the other.

Best practices in law enforcement for over the last ten years states that any time an officer (or deputy) in the field encounters any person or thing of suspicious note, a Field Incident report is genterated. In the old days, these were done on paper. As technology progressed, the FI's were entered by clerks into a computer system that matched the name, vehicle make and model, license plate, against lists of people with warrents, or those wanted for an investigation, or stolen merchandise, etc. Hits against the list were then sent out accordingly for follow up. Today (and for over the last five years), officers have had the ability to enter a FI in the field. The technology enhanced policing at all levels. Bad guys are found much quicker.

Based on this approach, even if the Deputy told them to move along, a FI would have been taken and entered. If the pervs, I mean perps, were found a second time, the officer would not be so generous. This is the power of having accurate data in a timely fashion.

So, either a FI was taken and there is a record of it that could be obtained with a FOIA request, or the Deputy chose not to create one, against the Department's Standard Operating Procedure, in deference to the position of the people in the car. And I mean their professional positions.

Either way, this is just another reason why now Chief Judge Edwards must call for an independent investigation. Anything else implies that he too has something to hide.

If an exam of Cornwell's cases before English does not show any prejudice, what it appears to me is that we have two consenting adults engaged in a personal relationship that does not bleed over into either of their professional careers. Seems to me that the only damage here would be to whatever families they each might have and that is neither public nor state business. Does it reflect poor judgement and questionable moral character? Of course but I don't think that approaches a criminal offense.

You could be unbiased when choosing between your significant other and a stranger that you have no emotional attachment to?
You would choose the stranger over your loved one without any fear of retribution?
You would trust your partner to do the sme thing after the day was over and not hold (or withhold) anything against you?
You can separate logic from emotion on a daily basis?
You don't see the perception of bias that exists now?
You think that "poor judgement" (your words not mine) is acceptable for a Judge.
You think that the two insiders appointed to look within their own orgnizations are going to find something was wrong?
You think that the citizens of the Circuit Court don't need or deserve an independent Special Counsel appointed to uncover every misdeed?

I hope that you are never forced to go before a Judge in the Circuit Court and have to wonder what what connection opposing Counsel has to them that your Attorney doesn't.

All those comments sound like you're a "loser lawyer" to me. And thank you very much, I know how to avoid going before judges of any sort and therefore also how to avoid sorry-ass counsel. You might want to look for a different rabbit to jump rather than stand in solitary judgement of other people and their actions.

AnonRegisteredVoter's picture

These guys break the rules they are sworn to uphold and then they lecture us about right and wrong.

AnonRegisteredVoter's picture

It sounds like there are a lot of people trying to cover up a lot of shady stuff done by powerful people. Those that are covering for others must have something just as bad to hide if they are risking their careers to protect someone. We need an investigation that is not "in-house." How in the world are we supposed to sit here and smile and pretend nothing is odd about a Judge telling these men at the DAs and public defenders offices..."I have been made aware of BAD BAD BAD ethics violations in this court case. I tried to get these two parties here to sign a legal document stating that they didn't object to any of these BAD BAD BAD ethics violations with regard to the case in question. Then after being yelled at by my chief judge, I decided to be rather hostile towards one particular party and I threatened to start that trial that same hour. Now that everyone is watching, I am going to act like I give a crap that these BAD BAD BAD ethics violations occurred. Now you take all these facts and go back to your offices and come back here on this predetermined date and tell me if you think anything went on. Ok boys!"

Like either of these men are going to run back there pointing out everything that is wrong about this whole situation. BAD BAD BAD

Jordan quietly left the SO and a so called investigation was supposed to happen but that was a joke. They want us to think there is an on going investigation but guess what...negative! Yep, the so called "powerful people" cover up for others and sometimes, unfortunately, don't want to risk their careers in order to tell the truth. Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you... :)

mbest's picture

I don't think Jordan's departure was all that quiet.

No mbest, we all know his departure was not quiet, but the investigation into all of it was a joke. That is how it is around here...they all leave there positions to hush the mess that went on. What

I have returned to this site in the clear, using my name, after receiving a call telling me that my name was once again being spewed on these blogs. I hesitated to respond because life is very good for my family and me now and I’m not sure anything could be accomplished here trying to argue one’s case. I did very little to defend myself here four years ago due to the supposed looming investigation which never occurred even though I publicly asked for it in this paper.
Realizing that there are some who apparently intend to pummel me for life here, I will make an attempt to let the truth of the matter be exposed rather than the lies which continue to be blogged here - mis-information my family had to read and endure while I waited for the investigation which never came. Since all of the information involved should now be available under open records request I will ask Cal Beverly to investigate what Scott Ballard would not.
To say it simply; I was accused of using Federal Drug Seizure funds to send two deputies to protect a little league baseball team on their quest to the World Series of Little League baseball. The team was from Kiwainis Field’s recreation department and my son was on the team. The scandal cost me a job I’d held for 27 years (with no prior disciplines), my home, my car and most of what I owned short of my loving and supportive family. It’s an accusation which pales in comparison to many public official fiascos which have followed in this county but effective in its intent non-the-less.
My coming forward is further fueled by an email I received two weeks ago from the wife of one my former employees who bragged it was her that brought me down.
A proper investigation would reveal the following;

1.) Sheriff Randall Johnson was aware and had sanctioned the protection detail and received numerous cell phone calls from myself and the attending deputies during the trip informing him of its progress. All of these phone calls will appear on verbatim cell phone bills. There is also a video of me telling the deputies to call the Sheriff and tell him the score.

2.) I was never aware that any Federal Funds had been used on the trip and none of the
documentation secured for the funding was signed or approved by me. My
signature, which was normally required for such expenditures, appears on none of
the corresponding paper work.

3.) None of the funds expended were used for any of my expenses and I nor my family
received any benefit from them.

4.) Irregularities on the signature on the Federal check which secured the funds was
inconsistent with previous procedures.

5.) I was never aware Federal Funds had been used until Channel 5 News contacted
the department.

One of the questions will be why Scott Ballard did not investigate the matter. I expect he was under political pressure due to what would be revealed by an investigation.

Obviously there will be several people who will not want the matter revisited. I am not one of them.

Bruce Jordan


Imagine my surprise when I see someone calling me out in the "Recent Commnets" section. Not to get into the middle of someone else's thread, just wanted to point out that since "Roadrunner" (me) and "Road Runner" (??) are two different birds. Carry on.

This is what I meant. Why didn't Scott Ballard investigate the matter, which I figured was due to polital pressure and what it would reveal. So what would have this "looming" investigation revealed? Go for it Bruce, do ask Cal Beverly to investigate what Scott Ballard would not. Did someone want you out?

That's funny b/c without Edwards bringing the "alleged judicial improprieties" into the Crook case, no one would be the wiser.

Instead, Edwards ordered Susan Brown to tell all attorneys in the Crook case; then he ordered a special counsel for Mrs. Crook to help her determine if she should ask for a recusal in light of the alleged misconduct from Caldwell and English.

In case you missed it, it was that special counsel, Gary Freed, who most likely filed the JQC complaint on Caldwell and perhaps English as well.

So if Edwards was trying to "cover up" for his fellow jurists, he did a FREAKING HORRIBLE job!

grassroots's picture

What else are empty subdivisions good for these days?

mbest's picture

What else indeed.

The Barnesville News has leaked a list of candidates to fill the two open judicial positions caused by the disgraceful resignations of English and Caldwell.

<a href=" to see the list</a>

mbest's picture

JUDY CHIDISTER!!! If there is anyway on earth one can learn who nominates Judges in this process, whom ever nominated Judy Chidister needs to go before Martha Stephenson and be committed.

I guess we wouldn't have to worry about her having an affair with anyone. I mean there are some things you just can't coerce any lawyer, a man or woman, to do - not even for a good ruling in court.

It makes me wonder though. If Judy Chidister were to be confirmed as Superior Court Judge would her judicial cannons require her to; wear a bra, take a shower and most importantly, take her prozac in a timely manner?

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

that The Citizen has not continued this (obviously) continuing story??
Cal did you end your coverage with your Editorial this week?
If so, you are in error my dear man.


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