A judge in Georgia’s Gwinnett County was suspended with pay after a TV news report showed him drinking, then getting behind the wheel of his SUV. David Fuller, on the bench for 11 years, agreed to enroll in a program for alcoholics, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A state misconduct commission ordered the suspension after this week’s airing of a WAGA-TV (Fox 5) investigation. The station used hidden cameras to show the judge leaving the courthouse during normal work hours, then heading to an Atlanta bar. Supporters of the judge, who earns over $100,000, say he gets his work done in the morning and is within his rights to leave the court.
The TV report alleges that Fuller consumed 19 drinks — beers or shots — in a 7-hour period April 18. Fuller, slurring his words in the broadcast, insisted he drank only iced tea, then refused to let someone else drive for him. The report alleged that over 10 weeks, Fuller made 15 trips during normal working hours to the Beer Mug, a 29-mile drive from his courthouse in Lawrenceville. The judge is considered an expert on the law of driving under the influence of alcohol.