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DA says no cases affected by Judge English's affair

Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard Friday confirmed that a sheriff’s deputy caught former Chief Superior Court Judge Paschal A. English Jr. and Public Defender Kim Cornwell engaged in a sexual act on Oct. 13, 2008 in a motor vehicle parked in the Waterlace subdivision near Cleveland Elementary School.

An investigation undertaken just over a month ago has determined that no defendants “were prejudiced by whatever relationship existed between the judge and the lawyer,” Ballard said, with that statement backed up by Chief Public Defender Joe Saia.

That investigation focused on 225 cases in which Cornwell represented defendants before Judge English. But each of those cases occurred after Oct. 13, 2008, the date on which English and Cornwell’s tryst was discovered by the deputy, Ballard said.

The investigation did not review any such cases that occurred at any time before the tryst, Ballard confirmed. Legal authority exists “that urges judges to recuse themselves from hearing cases under those circumstances,” Ballard said.

Thus Ballard conducted no probe of any cases involving the two that occurred before the pair was caught in a compromising position by the deputy.

The DA’s office attempted to interview English and Cornwell, and both declined to make any statements, said DA investigator Jeff Turner.

Chief Public Defender Saia said Cornwell as of June 1 has been put on leave without pay. From the time the investigation began, she was on paid administrative leave, Saia said, adding that he anticipated taking some action against Cornwell related to the probe, though he would not immediately say what action that would be.

English resigned April 23, four days following the resignation of fellow Superior Court Judge Johnnie L. Caldwell Jr.. Caldwell later admitted to making inappropriate remarks to female attorneys. A divorce attorney, Susan Brown of Peachtree City, told The Citizen that she complained to Judge English about Caldwell’s remarks, but English took no action and told her to speak with Caldwell about the matter.

The 2008 video (and resulting audio) from the deputy’s encounter with Judge English and Cornwell “no longer exists,” according to Fayette County Sheriff’s Maj. Bryan Woodie. The video was automatically deleted by the computer server upon which it was stored, as the server automatically deletes older files to keep space for newer videos, Woodie explained.

Woodie, who observed the video, said at no time did Judge English attempt to assert his authority to influence the deputy in any way.

“There was nothing unusual except for the notoriety of the people involved,” Woodie said.

Woodie said the “parking” incident was reported to his direct boss at the time, then Sheriff’s Lt. Col. Wayne Hannah, who was later that year elected sheriff. The incident was also relayed to then-Fayette sheriff Randall Johnson only because of the positions of Judge English and Cornwell. Woodie remarked that “parking” incidents occur frequently here, but this was the only one he could recall having to bring to the sheriff’s attention.

The deputy cooperated with DA Ballard’s investigation and shared the details of English and Cornwell’s activity that was not evident on the video, Woodie noted. The deputy recognized the judge at the time, which is not surprising given the nature of his job, but also because English is somewhat of a national celebrity given his participation in the TV game show “Survivor.”

The DA’s investigation was ordered by Fayette County Superior Court Judge Christopher C. Edwards on April 28 after rumors surfaced of the affair between Judge English and attorney Cornwell, both of whom were married to others, Ballard confirmed. At that moment, English had resigned more than a week prior and was serving his last few days as chief superior court judge of the circuit.

While Judge Edwards ordered the investigation on the English-Cornwell affair, he did so “to bring into the open matters that he felt had been allowed to remain secret for too long,” Ballard said.

Ballard also said it “appears” that Edwards ordered the investigation to protect himself “from being accused of covering up wrongdoing by a fellow judge.”

Edwards was not present at Friday’s press conference to comment on that fact, and he has not made any official comment on the matter. Sitting judges are under tight restrictions on what they can say about pending legal issues outside their courtrooms.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors were also consulted in the case as part of the investigation, Ballard noted. He said he is unsure if the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission, which regulates all Georgia judges, is undertaking an investigation.

Ballard, meanwhile, said he was unaware of the physical relationship between Judge English and Cornwell prior to the investigation, but he added that he “knew they spent some time together and I knew they were close.”


As you all know, our judiciary has been sliced in half by the sudden resignation within 4 days of each other of two of our most experienced and capable judges. On April 28, anxieties were high in the courthouse. The media was reporting that one of our remaining judges, Christopher C. Edwards, was also under investigation. There were even reports that he had resigned.

So on that day, Judge Edwards ordered Joe Saia (the public defender) and me to investigate rumors that one of the judges who was already resigning had been involved in an intimate relationship with an assistant public defender who regularly practiced in his courtroom. There is legal authority that urges judges to recuse themselves from hearing cases under those circumstances.

At the meeting a court reporter was present. There was an “off-the-record” discussion for over forty minutes and then Judge Edwards asked the court reporter to take down the remainder of the meeting. He told those present at the meeting that he would order the record of the meeting transcribed and filed with the clerk.

I understood that his stated purpose for acting in this way was to “bring into the open” matters that he felt had been allowed to remain secret for too long.

I later learned that the unreported portion of the meeting had been audio recorded. After my polite requests for a copy of the recording were rebuffed, a change of tactics finally induced the production of the recording. It is available to you by open records request to my attention at the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office.

It now appears to us that this investigation was ordered, not solely for the purpose of “bringing matters into the open”, but, also as a defensive measure to protect Judge Edwards from being accused of covering up wrong-doing by a fellow judge. That is not what the District Attorney’s Office exists to do. Nevertheless, we were ordered to investigate.

So, this is what our investigation has revealed:

On October 13,2008 a deputy observed Judge Paschal A. English and Assistant Public Defender Kim Cornwell engaged in a sexual act. The deputy’s patrol car camcorder recorded part of what he saw. At least one other deputy saw the video. According to the current sheriff, who was not yet in office at the time, the tape no longer exists.

Beyond that we don’t know when the intimate relationship began.

We are aware of 225 cases in which Mrs. Cornwell represented criminal defendants in front of Judge English after they were discovered together by the deputy. They are listed in the report. While it is not our determination to make, none of the current employees of my office or of the Circuit Public Defender’s Office hold the opinion that any defendants were prejudiced by whatever relationship existed between the judge and the lawyer.

In a minute Joe Saia and I will field your questions. We have up here copies of these prepared remarks and of our report to assist you.

I plan to respond to all of your questions as best I can, but after this press conference, I consider our involvement in this matter and our discussion about it with the media concluded. We have serious criminal matters to prepare for trial.

I hope you will understand and honor my desire to refocus our office away from the disappointing and distracting choices by our judges and onto our critical responsibilities as prosecutors in the Griffin Judicial Circuit.

Chief Investigator for the District Attorney

District Attorney’s Office
Griffin Judicial Circuit
Investigator’s Report

June 9, 2010
To: Scott Ballard
District Attorney
Griffin Judicial Circuit

Re: Judge Paschal English/Asst. Public Defender Kim Cornwell Investigation


Upon your direction, I have investigated the allegations of an inappropriate relationship between Judge Paschal English and Assistant Public Defender Kim Cornwell, and if a relationship was found, whether or not it had any adverse effect in any way inside the courtroom of Judge English. The following are my findings.

On April 28, 2010, you, Scott and Public Defender Joe Saia (who brought with him Chief Assistant Public Defender Allen Adams) were summoned to a courtroom, and then into court chambers, by Judge Christopher Edwards.

As you and I talked at the beginning of this investigation, you informed me that also present at this meeting were Judge Tommy Hankinson, law clerk Stephen Harris, and Judge Edward’s court reporter, Darryl Brooks.

You informed me that before the meeting went on the record, that there was a discussion of the information to be shared in this meeting, with both Judges Edwards and Hankinson providing input.

This part of the meeting was not being transcribed by court reporter Brooks. However, I did not realize, nor did you, Joe Saia, nor Allen Adams, that the session of the meeting prior to being transcribed was being recorded.

I came upon this information while speaking with Joe Saia and Allen Adams during the course of my investigation. Adams informed me that he was sitting next to court reporter Brooks, and that Brooks was not transcribing, yet on his computer screen, words were showing up. This is when I figured out that this meeting was being taped.

You are aware that we have asked for these tapes several times from Judge Edwards’ office, following his instructions on how to go about getting them. It seems that we have been blocked at each turn.

I find this disturbing since the purpose of this investigation was to get things into the open and restore trust in the Griffin Judicial Circuit.

What I find more disturbing was a comment that was made by Judge Edwards, that has been verified by you, Joe Saia, and Allen Adams. This comment, not knowing the exact words at this time, was something to the effect of Judge Edwards saying that he hoped, “Judge English hated him for the rest of his life,” or something close to that.

As I type this, I have just received a phone call from you, with you informing me that you have received a CD from court reporter Darryl Brooks, a CD which contains the conversation of the non-transcribed portion of the meeting.

Scott, both you and I have now listened to the non-transcribed, but recorded meeting. We have both verified that Judge Edwards did make the statement that “my fondest hope is that Paschal English hates me for the rest of his life.”

As you know, this statement was made in conjunction with informing you and Joe Saia of the allegation made against Judge English and Kim Cornwell.

Again, I find this comment to be disturbing, especially since Judge English had already submitted his resignation. I agree that trust should be restored in the circuit, and that if any courtroom improprieties occurred that they should be brought to light, but this comment seemed to be a bit vengeful. I base this on listening to the entire tape.

According to Judge Edwards, in the transcribed portion of the meeting, he received information on April 12, 2010, about the possibility of an improper relationship going on between Judge English and Kim Cornwell.

Then on April 28, 2010, 16 days later, Judge Edwards makes this known to you and Joe Saia and orders, or suggests, that an investigation be done to find out if this improper relationship exists and if so, has it affected any cases in Judge English’s courtroom. Though Judge Hankinson was present in the meeting, it was not made clear as to when he learned of this information.

I have spoken with Chief Public Defender Joe Saia and Assistant Chief Public Defender Allen Adams about this at length.

Joe Saia has informed me that over a year or so ago, the standards council for the Public Defender system received a letter from someone, stating that there was an improper relationship going on between Judge English and Kim Cornwell.

Joe Saia says that he confronted Cornwell with this information, and she informed him that she was not involved in an improper relationship with Judge English. Obviously, based on information obtained in this investigation that was not the whole truth.

Both Saia and Adams informed me that each employee in the Fayette Public Defender’s Office has been questioned and no one has any information about an alleged improper relationship between Judge English and Kim Cornwell.

Furthermore, all of the employees stated that they have not seen any improper conduct in Judge English’s courtroom. The employees have stated that it has always been business as usual, with no favor going to the state or the defense.

At this point in the meeting with Saia and Adams, I informed them that I could prove that Judge English and Kim Cornwell had an improper relationship.

Based on information I received during the investigation I came across information that a Fayette County Deputy had actually caught Judge English and Kim Cornwell in a compromising position that verified the improper relationship.

According to Deputy Kris Purkey of the Fayette County Sheriffs Department, on October 13,2008, he was patrolling the Water Lace subdivision, where several houses were under construction, where he found parked in a cul de sac was a maroon in color vehicle.

Purkey says that he pulled behind the vehicle and called in the tag number, and could see a female facing towards the back direction of the vehicle in the right front passenger seat.

A check of the tag reveals that the vehicle is in the name of David Cornwell, the husband of Kim Cornwell.

Purkey states that as he approached the vehicle from the passenger side, he noticed that the female was straddling a male person, later identified to be Judge Paschal English.

At the time of this incident, Purkey was not familiar with the female, as he was the male, and she was later identified to him as Assistant Public Defender Kim Cornwell.

Purkey says that upon his approach of the vehicle, he could tell that both Cornwell and English were engaged in the physical act of fornication.

Purkey says that both his body mic and car camera were activated, with the incident being recorded.

After speaking with both parties, Purkey advised them to move on, in which they did.

Purkey then called Deputy Chris Stapleton, who was off duty, but lives nearby. Both Purkey and Stapleton met in a parking lot at which time Purkey advised Stapleton of what he had just witnessed, and then showed Stapleton the tape from the car camera.

A subsequent interview with Chris Stapleton verified this information for me. Purkey says that he marked the tape for evidence, and then notified Cpt Brian Eubanks of the incident.

Cpt Eubanks has verified for me that Purkey did pass this information along to him. As far as the video is concerned, our office has been notified by Sheriff Hannah that this video no longer exists, as it was on a server that kept the video files for a period of one year, and then removed for storage space. Attached is the letter from Sheriff Hannah with a detailed explanation.

This event establishes the improper relationship that had been rumored to have been going on between Judge English and Kim Cornwell.

I have additionally reviewed cell phone records, and there are several calls between Judge English and Cornwell. I have reviewed email records which did not provide any information.

It is unknown as to how long the relationship between Judge English and Kim Cornwell went on. It is unclear as to when the relationship started, and when and if it has been discontinued.

I attempted to interview both Judge English and Kim Cornwell concerning this matter, and both stated they had no comments to make.

After establishing that there was in fact an improper relationship between Judge English and Kim Cornwell, I looked into whether there were any improprieties in Judge English’s courtroom when cases came before him that involved Kim Cornwell as the defense attorney.

It can be established that Judge English wanted Kim Cornwell’s cases assigned to his courtroom. This was verified in the recorded meeting of you, Scott, Joe Saia, Allen Adams, and Judge Hankinson when Judge Edwards announced that Judge “English wanted Kim Cornwell’s cases assigned to his courtroom.”

Several ADA’s have also verified this information. In addition, I have in my possession the taped courtroom calendar call of September 22, 2009, where Judge Edwards was calling the calendar and sending Kim Cornwell’s cases to Judge English’s courtroom. It should be noted that Judge Edwards did take pleas from some of Cornwell’s defendants on this date.

As stated earlier, I have interviewed both Joe Saia and Allen Adams, and they have spoken with each member of the Fayette County Public Defender’s staff, and each member has not seen any favoritism either for the defense or for the state when Kim Cornwell was in front of Judge English.

According to Chief Public Defender Joe Saia, he is not aware of any improprieties in Judge English’s courtroom when Kim Cornwell was the attorney for a defendant.

Each member of the District Attorney’s staff, most especially the ADAs, were interviewed, and with the exception of one attorney, no other attorney has seen any improprieties in Judge English’s courtroom when Kim Cornwell was the defendant’s attorney.

As a matter of fact, there have been several trials where Cornwell’s client received stiff sentences after conviction. Plea recommendations from the District Attorney’s Office ADA’s were given to Kim Cornwell’s clients through Cornwell herself.

If any wrong doing was going on inside the courtroom where the state would have been harmed, the ADA’s would have known about it and reported it. This did not happen, and I state again, with the exception of one attorney, there were no complaints from the District Attorney’s staff.

Now, ADA Robert Smith did indicate to me that there were a couple of occasions where he felt that though no defendant’s rights were harmed, he sensed a favoritism between Judge English and Kim Cornwell.

Upon consultation with you, Scott, and other attorney’s within our circuit, I have determined that we cannot control a judge’s interpretation of the law, and also the state was not harmed in a certain plea negotiation that Smith called into question.

In a nutshell, though attorneys feel certain ways about their cases, in the totality of the circumstances in regards to the issue at hand, neither the defense nor the state were harmed in anyway due to the relationship between Judge English and Kim Cornwell.

In closing, I do find undisputed evidence that there was an improper relationship between Judge English and Kim Cornwell. However, I do not find evidence that any improprieties, i.e., instances where the state or defendant were harmed by actions of the court, ever took place in Judge English’s courtroom at all, much less when Kim Cornwell was the attorney for a defendant.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Turner
Chief Investigator
District Attorney’s Office
Griffin Judicial Circuit


Honorable Scott Ballard, District Attorney
Griffin Judicial Circuit
Fayetteville, Georgia 30214

Dear Mr. Ballard,

I am in receipt of a Grand Jury Subpoena requiring the production of certain evidence relating to an investigation concerning former Superior Court Judge Paschal English and Public Defender Kimberly Cornwell.

Specifically the subpoena requests any and all information/audio tapes and incident/supplemental reports concerning Deputy Sheriff Kris Purkey finding these two individuals together at a location in Fayette County on October 13, 2008.

There are no incident reports or supplemental reports that concern this encounter; none were prepared or would have been given the circumstances of the encounter in question.

Deputy Sheriff Purkey did cause a computer record to be prepared at the E-911 Center that documented this encounter; the record includes a tag number which belongs to Mrs. Cornwell but little other information.

A video recording, which included some audio, was made by Deputy Sheriff Purkey, but is no longer available.

A part of our normal procedures, when Deputy Sheriffs approach a vehicle under suspicious circumstances our policy is to make a video recording of the encounter using the “in car” video camera system.

Deputy Sheriff Purkey followed those procedures on October 13, 2008 in the encounter that is the subject of the subpoena.

Major Woodie advises me that the video included some audio and the images in the video include the suspicious vehicle; no individuals could be discerned from the recording except for Deputy Sheriff Purkey. I have not seen the video.

Deputy Sheriff Purkey reported the encounter to then Lieutenant Brian Eubanks who was his immediate supervisor. He did so because Judge English had been involved although no criminal activity was observed.

Lieutenant Brian Eubanks reported the encounter to his immediate supervisor, Captain Bryan Woodie. Captain Woodie reported the general circumstances of the encounter to Sheriff Randall Johnson and I; at the time, I was Director of the Traffic Enforcement Division and was Captain Woodie’s immediate supervisor.

As I stated previously, the video recording made by Deputy Sheriff Purkey is no longer available. Major Bryan Woodie, now the Director of Field Operations explained to me why.

The video camera system used by Deputy Sheriff Purkey was a server based digital system. Under the business rules established in this particular system at the time, non classified/non evidentiary videos were being retained on the computer server for 1 year before being automatically deleted from the server to conserve storage space. Video marked as evidence is retained indefinitely.

The video recorded by Deputy Purkey was not marked as evidence and was automatically deleted from the server as much as a year ago.

Deputy Sheriff Kris Purkey, Captain Brian Eubanks, and Major Bryan Woodie are available to appear before the Grand Jury to present testimony to these facts if you so desire. If my presence is still required, please let me know. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Wayne Hannah
Sheriff, Fayette County

Griffin Judicial Circuit Public Defender

On April 28, 2010, I was asked by Judge Christopher Edwards to perform an investigation concerning allegations of an improper personal relationship between Judge English and Ms. Cornwell, the supervising attorney of our Fayette County office.

However, two or three days earlier, after consulting with the Judicial Qualifications Commission and Mr. Scott Ballard, the Circuit District Attorney, I began an investigation concerning these allegations. This inquiry was prompted by information provided to me by a newspaper reporter, Mr. Bill Rankin, from the Atlanta Constitution.

Mr. Rankin informed me that the reason for Judge English’s retirement was the allegation of a relationship with Ms. Cornwell.

I immediately placed Ms. Cornwell on administrative leave, with pay, pending the inquiry. I notified Mr. Ballard of the allegations, the investigation and the status of Ms. Cornwell. I was able to obtain sufficient information from the JQC to justify this decision.

My investigation emphasized determination as to any prejudice, positive or negative, to our clients.

I am satisfied to report that a detailed review of the cases handled by Ms. Cornwell did not demonstrate any prejudice, positive or negative, directed to her clients, or the clients which were represented by the other lawyers from our Fayette Office. Additionally there was no evidence of clients who were represented by private lawyers were affected.

The records which I utilized were obtained from the computer case management system which is maintained by the Clerk of Court. The data that I reviewed was provided to the District Attorney.

I have spoken to both public defenders from our office and private lawyers.

In addition I also reviewed client records, which are created by our office. These records are privileged and confidential. Consequently, only the lawyers in our office were relied upon to review these files.

The results of this investigation resulted in finding that most of the clients who Ms. Cornwell represented entered guilty pleas, upon negotiation and recommendation from an assistant district attorney. Finally, those clients who went to trial with Ms. Cornwell as their lawyer did not receive sentences which were out of line with sentences received by individuals who were represented by other attorneys.

My conclusion is that there was no favoritism, prejudice, or any diversion in the way Judge English and Ms. Cornwell conducted themselves professionally.

I can authoritatively assure the Court that no defendants were affected by any personal relationship that might have existed between Ms. Cornwell and Judge English.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph J. Saia
Griffin Judicial Circuit Public Defender



could he, could she, did he, did she.....

Can you spell "h-o-t-e-l r-o-o-m"?

"The Straighest of Straight Arrows?"

Say what ?------

We have both verified that Judge Edwards did make the statement that “my fondest hope is that Paschal English hates me for the rest of his life.”

Someone explain all of this to me.

Why not let it go and let whatever (if any) legal procedures handle this thing. Otherwise, it does no one any good to attempt to analyze personal decisions, good or bad. These things are best left to the individuals involved and their families. Our Judicial System will survive and continue to prosecute and incarcerate where appropriate without our involvement or assistance. And the individuals involved must handle their personal problems like adults.

tortugaocho's picture

It was pretty obvious yesterday at the press conference why an outside investigation is needed for this whole courthouse mess. That doesn't mean that it will happen though.

Munford after hearing Ballard gush on about how much he loves Paschal English for 25 years asked the question "How objective can you be under those circumstances?"

If this was important enough to do it was important enough to do it right.

The press release that resulted from the investigation appears to be the entire legal process. As far as the judge & PD, you're right - those were personal decisions.

However, the local GOBN is hoping this will just fade away. The reality is that our system does not always "prosecute and incarcerate where appropriate without our involvement or assistance". APD's handling of the Neal St. shooting several years ago is but one example, and we need to remember that the ability of power to corrupt doesn't stop at the Fayette County line...

So the question remains "was FCSD's decision not to cite English made simply because of his stature in the community", which we can determine only if we know if other adults caught in similarly compromising situations were also let go without citation or arrest. If the answer is that others were cited, then we need to look beyond public defender cases and determine if the special treatment English received from FCSD resulted in preferential treatment in things like: FCSD's ability to secure warrants, overly lenient pro-prosecution rulings from the bench, etc.

Sounds like Garlock's gibberish!

To begin - I do not personally know any of the people involved in this situation. However, there is a question to which Mr. Ballard should obtain an answer: were any other couples (consenting adults) subject to charges in this type of situation? If the records reflect no other consenting adults were charged in conjunction with a similar act, "no harm, no foul".

However, if the records reflect that other couples WERE charged in similar situations, one must wonder if the Sheriff's office chose not to cite English in order to curry favor. (Thus far, it appears the investigation has been more about whether the public defender's office appeared to have been the beneficiary of favoritism.)

It would certainly have been convenient for the prosecutor to have a judge who felt indebted to the Sheriff's office. Again, I am not alleging that English ruled inappropriately as a result of special treatment with this incident - simply suggesting an impartial office (special prosecutor, etc.) should review the matter from this perspective.

Are you telling me that numerous members of the Sheriff's Office, including the Sheriff in 2008, the Sheriff now, and a multitude of various officers all knew about this incident in 2008 and kept it quiet?

Are you telling me that all of those people knew and that, contrary to everything we know about human nature, they didn't tell anyone else until now?

Are you all crazy?

tortugaocho's picture

What did Randall Johnson do at the time?

NUK_1's picture

Up front, I admit to having a profound dislike for him as person.

I don't think he was a really "bad" sheriff and all, but the man is a huge racist and redneck and that doesn't fly with me. I have personally heard his spew on several occasions and it disgusted me. Going after sheriff opponent Ben Thomas(black guy) for having a white wife was typical Redneck Randall. That really played well with the toothless idiots at Melears chomping on the worst BBQ in history, though.

Wayne Hannah is just as lacking in character. Saying how great Fayette was/is due to some redneck like Johnson or our BOE is like whizzing into the wind. The only great thing about Fayette County is the people that live in Fayette. Leadership from elected anything or others? Caucasian please!

highflyer2's picture

Do I see your "transplanted to PTC northern roots" showing? Let me correct one thing that you said. "The only great thing about Fayette County is the people that MADE Fayette County"! Talking about toothless idiots at Melears is the same as talking about ALOT of generations of people that made Fayette County what it is. Why do you think all the northerners thought this county was so great in the first place?
Talking about racist! You REAK OF IT!

NUK_1's picture

Since when did "northerners and southerners" become races of people? Racism? WTH?

As far as my "northern roots" go, try American by birth, southerner by the grace of God, chump! Been in Fayette for about 40 years and haven't lived in them there northern parts.

fiddle's picture

All this mess is very disturbing on so many different levels.

As this all started with the divorce case Crook vs. Crook .. Susan Brown and all records concerning have gone MIA ??

New attorneys want to start the proceeding from square 1 as they have no documents referencing anything ??

What an amazing co-inky dink...

I can tell you this, there is one person who benefited the most and that person is Judge Edwards. Many years ago, he was fired by (then) DA Johnnie Caldwell. I personally know that he has held a grudge against him all these years. Once Judge Caldwell was out of the way, he turned his attention to getting rid of the one person standing in the way of him becoming Chief Judge. Judge English was the next to go. Voila!!! New Chief Judge Edwards was gleefully struting around the next day according to all accounts of courthouse insiders, even remarking to people, when asked how he was doing, that he was "Doing GRRREAT!!!". Now we learn of his remarks that his "fondest hope is that English hates him for the rest of his life".

Yes, it was wrong of Caldwell to make the remarks he made to Ms. Brown. And, yes, it was wrong of English to have an intimate relationship with Ms. Cornwell. However, it is downright SCARY to have someone like Judge Edwards as the Chief Judge in our circuit. Folks .... be very, VERY scared of people carrying sharp knives behind their backs. Those kind of folks are the most dangerous.

I agree with bornttorun and 3374.

This last press conference is just the latest in literally decades of corruption in our court system. How many turned their backs on the obvious will never be known.

- Randall Johnson and Wayne Hannah: they knew all about this public indecency and did nothing because for them it was a leg up on the judge and the public defenders. Had it been a couple of teenagers they would have been busted
- The other Judges in the courthouse: like Ballard and Saia, the judges knew about these rumors and they knew about worse and they did nothing.
- The Courthouse: every knew of this affair and it was nothing new, except that as officers of the court, these two were thumbing their noses at our system of law
- The Lawyers: they knew, had no guts and went along with this and much more. The one guy who ran against Caldwell got lambasted for challenging the plea deals of his fine your honor, the same judge that Ballard is still praising. That guy probably lives under a bridge somewhere now.

So many stood by and watched this all happen and it was not until an outside group came in and demanded that these two judges resign probably for things far worse than what we read in the paper. Certainly the crooked plea deals that they have done for years was worse than what they supposedly resigned for.

The two new judges? It will be probably be same old same old--- Scott Ballard and Flechter Sams, as they move up the ladder.

NUK_1's picture

<strong>Yes, it was wrong of Caldwell to make the remarks he made to Ms. Brown. And, yes, it was wrong of English to have an intimate relationship with Ms. Cornwell. However, it is downright SCARY to have someone like Judge Edwards as the Chief Judge</Strong>

Good time to just shut up. When you get into the but..but...but...but defense, you are arguing an indefensible position.

Caldwell and English are slimey dudes. What Edwards has to do with all of this seems to be your personal problem. It almost sounds like you're Redneck Randall's wife.

After reading your post, I am not VERY scared for some reason of Edwards, but am at the fact that I have to share oxygen with someone so hysterical and having a drama-queen mentality as yourself.

Whatever he said to Brown must have taken a long time for it to sink in and piss her off, seeing as how she waited so long to register a complaint. Would like to know just what he said that insulted her sensitive self.

NUK_1's picture

I know Susan Brown personally and she's a very low quality individual. Same goes for John Oxendine too, another person I sort of wish I didn't know as well.

Doesn't surprise me--and I don't think she's out of the woods in the Anna Nicole Smith case!

mbest's picture

more was said off tape. Definately alot of cut-throat going on.

If anyone thinks Edwards is not guilty of some wrong-doing, they might be interested to know that Edwards has hired a high-powered Atlanta criminal attorney to represent him. He talked with several and hired one of them. And he IS under investigation for his own wrong-doing, which will come to light.

You are so on target! Let's hope the media and the JQC explore Judge Edward's motives. It is unethical for a sitting Judge to conspire as he has. The man is mentally unbalanced!

Inappropriate comments of a sexual nature made to a female attorney by a sitting judge, another sitting judge caught having sex in the front seat of a car in a subdivision by a deputy sheriff with a public defender who appears regularly in his court, the investigation of the matters at hand being conducted by the sitting District Attorney and who refers to the two judges being investigated as "two of our most capable judges", assisting him is the Public Defender for whom the woman caught having sex with one of the judges works. Oh yeah, and a nasty divorce case that is still unresolved after a couple of years as a subplot.

Jeez, glad to see the Bob Barr/Newt Gingrich/Mark Sanford/Glenn Richardson Republican family values alive and well in Fayette County.

NUK_1's picture

How convenient/stupid. Not much has changed at the FCSO from decades ago.

I have to LOL though at the comment that Edwards is "benefiting" from other judges being complete losers. CONSPIRACY! He made somehow Caldwell and English have zero character, OMG!

If even half of what we have read/are reading is true, Caldwell & English did a very job of self-destructing without help from anyone--well, maybe Brown & Cornwell DID help a tad!

mbest's picture

Brown was wrong?

mbest - It will be apparent how Susan Brown was wrong very soon now. She's been avoiding the Piper until now, but that won't last much longer. Her day of reckoning is coming soon. You can run, but you can only hide so long ...

As to my having a personal problem with Edwards, no, it is not personal. But, yes, I do have a HUGE PROBLEM with so-called born-again Christians (and this is not a slap to people who LIVE THEIR LIVES as Christians) who do not live their lives this way. Edwards treats everyone around him like crap. I've even seen him make a 70+-year-old woman cry in his courtroom; and, no, she was not a defendant, she was a beloved co-worker to many at the courthouse. He is rude and arrogant. He blasts anyone in his courtroom for something as small as rattling a gum wrapper or tapping a pencil during breaks. To jurors, however, he is Prince Charming. I'm telling you, this guy is a Jekyl-Hyde. I pray he will be gone soon.

OLDPTC's picture seems highly unlikely in light of the brouhaha that is happening with our most honorable [sic] judges.

Ms. Brown has acted not acted with honor in many a situation and for many years - she knows it, the people around her know it, and the people that have worked for/with her know it. It may not come out during this trial, but a question of HER ethics will eventually come to light.

She may have started this firestorm ("unknowingly" - yeah, my foot), but she's a smart cookie. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing and exactly how it would play out. She is not a little innocent lamb. Do not be deceived.

Wait and see how this will play out in the months - if not years - to come...

"The truth will set you free!"

Hi all,

It's been a while since I had reason to post. I figured that without an Independent Special Prosecutor, the whole truth and nothing but the truth would remain buried within the four walls of the Judicial Center. It appears, at least when you take all of the statements above literally, there there are more questions than answers.

1) Where's the tape?

Chief Investigator for the District Attorney

"Purkey says that he marked the tape for evidence, and then notified Cpt Brian Eubanks of the incident." The key statement by the Deputy is that he marked the tape for Evidence.


"Video marked as evidence is retained indefinitely."

There are two possible explanations for this contradiction. First, the good Deputy lied to the Chief Investigator for the District Attorney and did not mark the tape for evidence as he clearly stated. Second, the Deputy did mark the tape as Evidence as he stated and that then Lieutenant Brian Eubanks, Captain Bryan Woodie, then Sheriff Randall Johnson and then Director Wayne Hannah either acting as an individual or as a part of a conspiracy, removed the Evidence mark from the recording because of the identities of the people involved.

2) Grand Jury? Where are the indictments for Perjury?


"I am in receipt of a Grand Jury Subpoena requiring the production of certain evidence relating to an investigation concerning former Superior Court Judge Paschal English and Public Defender Kimberly Cornwell."

Both the Chief Investigator for the District Atorney and the Public Defender were responding to the Order from now Chief Justice Edwards to investigate the possible relationship between then Chief Judge English and then Public Defender Cornwell. Never, before the Sheriff's statement was made, was there ever a mention of a Grand Jury investigation. It is one thing to impanel a Grand Jury, it's another for them to find enough evidence to proceed, to the point of issuing Subpoenas. It is easy to conclude, that despite the plea from current District Attorney to move on, that Fayette County has not heard the last of this story.

3) Is 16 days like 18 minutes?

"According to Judge Edwards, in the transcribed portion of the meeting, he received information on April 12, 2010, about the possibility of an improper relationship going on between Judge English and Kim Cornwell.

Then on April 28, 2010, 16 days later, Judge Edwards makes this known to you and Joe Saia and orders, or suggests, that an investigation be done to find out if this improper relationship exists..."

I am still troubled by the actions of now Chief Judge Edwards. No where in the statements were any indication that anyone looked at the transcripts from Judge English's courtroom on April 12th, where he attempted to coerce both parties to enter into an Agreed Order that stated there was no harm from Judge Crawford's treatment of Attorney Brown. It was on that day where this new English/Cornwell issue came up, which had nothing to do with the case at hand. What happened in those 16 days? Were there any communications between Judge Edwards and any of the parties involved? It is clear from the Statement of the Chief Investigator that there was more to the now Chief Judge's motivation to order the investigation than was stated at the time. I still wonder what we don't know.

Sugar Hunn's post above states "No where in the statements were any indication that anyone looked at the transcripts from Judge English's courtroom on April 12th, where he attempted to coerce both parties to enter into an Agreed Order that stated there was no harm from Judge Crawford's treatment of Attorney Brown."

Perhaps a typo or maybe a little confusion there. It was NOT Judge English, but rather JUDGE EDWARDS who was in the courtroom on April 12th and attempted to coerce both parties to enter into an Agreed Order that stated there was no harm from JUDGE CALDWELL's treatment of Attorney Brown.

Just a correction.


Many of us did. Pascal was so well liked and had the power to turn heads (the other way.) So people around him did for a long time, some are still trying to.

Judge Caldwell came from a family who has long believed that with power came entitlement. The longer he got away with it the worse he got.

For some men and women (but not all) the longer they remain in office the more the power goes to their head and the more they let their guard down about their own conduct. They get used to not being questioned about anything they do.

Now Judge Edwards has made some slips of the tounge which makes it appear that the arrogance that comes with power may have affected him as well.

This syndrome can affect some in law enforcement as well after having served a long time in power. Sheriff Hannah, who has been in power for decades as a division commander, first announced that some of the more unseemly things uncovered here were not on his watch. His latest statement reveals he was directly involved with the decision to quash or destroy police records of the incident along with his second-in-comand Major Brian Woodie. In addition a video which he now admits was marked as evidence had supposedly been destroyed in direct conflict with his own admitted policy.

This has raised rumlbings in the Sheriff's Department answering the question as to why Sheriff Hannah appointed Major Woodie as his number two guy considering Woodie's poor reputation in and out of the department. Sheriff Hannah's own release reveals that Woodie knew where the skeletons were buried, or in this case the video. A video which, as with all Sheriff's videos, Woodie was the steward of. Many in the department believe it is not in Woodie's nature to allow a video of that magnitude be destroyed because he is prone to use material like that for leverage. It most probably has been destroyed now.

Who knows who will fall and who will survive when the dust settles in these matters but the shadow will last in our Judicial Circuit for a long long time. Hopefully long enough for those who follow in their footsteps to learn from this disaster and the danger of assuming you'll never be questioned.

bringinabroom's picture

Well, it looks like our judges are just like all the other rotten politicians. Of course our exhibitionist judge committed a crime. Of course evidence of a crime was destroyed. Of course Traffic Maj. Wayne Hannah and Sheriff Randall the Great looked the other way and built up a chit on the Chief Judge. And here's our investigator DA saying on the one hand how wonderful these judges are and other hand, by the way, invesigation in to wrongdoing closed.

Now its out in the open--- the judges scheme and politic just the same as all the other politicians. Two standards of justice. When the press cameras are around they drop a bomb on the defendants. Different story when they get caught in the act (literally) themselves. And law enforcment turns their heads the other way. And the county commissioners turn their heads the other way too. Jack Smith personally designed the Taj Mahal courthouse complete with showers for the judges (!) putting the county deeper in debt. When the debt became too high, you guessed it, let's do a few more SPLOSTS. And he boosted their pay during this recession.

I imagine the Guv will just appoint two new frick and fracks and we'll have more of the same.

Vote the incumbents out and start over.

"The whole thing stinks--- time for a Spring Cleaning."

It was already built and occupied before he got elected. That was Greg Dunn, Linda Wells Peter Pfiefer and Herb Frady. Frady probably voted against everything but got out voted.

bringinabroom's picture

Jack Smith DID design the courthouse---- ever heard of delegation to committee ? What about the increase in money to judges since he became Chairman of the County Commission? You didn't mention that one I see.

None of these people--- none of them--- stood up to these judges.

"The whole thing stinks--- time for a Spring Cleaning."

You implied that he was on the Commission when it was passed and I know he wasn't. I'm not disagreeing with you on any other issue.

Fyt35's picture

catchy, to say the least. Can't wait for the reality show.

Hey, this could be fun--- "The English Affair"--- a new reality show.

For fun, name the courthouse from which Judge Pappy is shown flashing us his running shorts under his robe----

I have to say nothing has changed much over the years in Thomaston, GA. The levels of corruption and "sweeping under the rug" have been going on for many many years in this little Peyton Place called Thomaston. If were to investigate A LOT OF FOLKS who hold offices or positions in its government, the results would be devastating for many.

As for the Caldwell and English matter, let the chips fall where they may. Those that know these two gentlemen (and I use that term loosely) KNOW what they are and have always been.

But this is not anything new for this small town. It just happened to fall on the shoulders of Judges (whose behavior I find reprehensible given their positions) and a required expectation from voters for themn to practice and maintain moral standards, both personally and professionally, at a level above the average citizen.

Many will recall the case of Judge Edgar Fry of this same Judicial Circuit, who was convicted (via plea) of murdering an 18 year old boy after having been involved in sexual relationships with the he and another child. Yet, Judge Fry's case was sealed, he served only 7 years in prison, and is NOT listed on GA's sex offender list! What gives? Which Judge signed off on that plea deal?

The sweeping under the rug game, using power and money to effect results, etc. is the standard for this sickening town riddled with slimy officials.

English and Caldwell are the tip of the iceberg so to speak. The list goes on and on, some were just a bit luckier not to have been exposed publically as these Judges have been.

The sad news is no doubt Thomaston is not the only place this happens...the downfall of our country will one day be the result of dishonesty, immorality, greed, sex and money. The cornerstone of good government is crumbling rapidly and we should all pray for our entire country to be saved from this type of decline.

There are young boys dying every day to fight for our freedom, and this is how our officials repay them? I think I'm gonna throw up!

positivelysouthernbelle's picture

Don't forget the lawyer that helped start this mess...Alan Connell

Sheriff Hannah:

"The video recorded by Deputy Purkey was not marked as evidence and was automatically deleted from the server as much as a year ago."

Turner's interview of Purkey:

"Purkey says that he marked the tape for evidence, and then notified Cpt Brian Eubanks of the incident."

What's odd is not that the two statements are in complete disagreement, which happens in investigations all the time. What's odd is that Ballard, an experienced attorney, submitted a report where he clearly must have recognized the inconsistency existed and intentionally did not provide any semblance of an explanation. Its like he wanted us to see this inconsistency. I'm afraid this isn't going away until someone comes forward with the answer and no amount of stone-walling will help.

NUK_1's picture

What a total embarrassment to Fayette County. It was bad enough to have to listen to Ballard act like a poof all over the media when the Benoit murder/suicide happened, and now he's holding a press conference with stinky hippie Joe Saia right there, looking sharp in his $50 KMart mix and match clothing. Nice job, guys....... Way to represent!

So Saia is the Goldilocks in the picture? Perhaps he's good at his job but he could use a trip to the barber shop and Men's Warehouse if he's going to publicly represent our County--strictly one citizen's opinion. So who would his boss be? What we do know is that if his boss is Jack Smith,he doesn't have to worry about an annual performance appraisal!

Waiting for the Ballard and Saia report was like watching the History Channel. We already knew the ending. I mean really, did we think that either guy was going to say the cases their departments brought before the court were products of favoritism or diversion?

It's like a bad soap opera.

I saw in the new's article, and I think it was the AJC or the Citizen that
Commissioner Maxwell was with Susan Brown when she was telling her story to Judge Edwards. Was he representing her or what? Did he know that the Judges would fall and this would give him an opportunity to become a judge. I did see his name on the list to Gov. Sunny. Why is a county commissioner involved with something like this anyway. Hell, he is the one who appoints the salary’s to the judges. I have some problems with this.

No evidence!

how about sworn depositons from two Law Enforcement Officers--all they have to do is ask.

Maybe we should re-name her Kim CornHole?

MajorMike's picture

That's a bit over the top there don't you think?


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