Amanda Williams, the chief judge from Brunswick, Ga., who operated Georgia’s largest drug court operation, is stepping down from the bench in the face of sweeping ethics charges, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Last month, the state Judicial Qualifications Commission filed a dozen charges against Williams, accusing her of indefinitely detaining defendants and cutting off their access to their family and lawyers. She also was charged with making false statements, behaving in a tyrannical manner on the bench, and allowing family members to appear in cases before her.
This month, the panel filed three more charges, saying she gave special treatment to a man facing family violence charges by allowing him to enter her drug court. Her drug court operation came under intense scrutiny early this year when the public radio show, “This American Life,” broadcast “Very Tough Love,” a segment that highlighted a number of cases from Williams' drug court. Williams threatened to sue, but didn’t. She told the Journal-Constitution last spring, “I've spent 12 ½ years trying to give people an opportunity to get clean and sober, in spite of their addictive behaviors. You can really make a difference in people's lives.”