Broadcast prompts threats and calls for judge’s ouster
4:53 pm, March 31st, 2011
A story on public radio’s “This American Life” about the uncompromising manner in which Glynn County Superior Court Chief Judge Amanda F. Williams runs her drug court has prompted calls for her impeachment and even spawned death threats against the judge.
Reporter Ira Glass said Williams was “a judge that many people truly fear.” The report focused on three offenders in Williams’ court, saying she ordered that defendants be jailed—and held in isolation—indefinitely. Glass said the stories illustrate that Williams’ practices “violate the basic philosophy of all drug courts.”
Williams earned her law degree from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta in 1977 and practiced law in Glynn County for a decade before becoming in 1990 the first woman elected to the Brunswick Judicial Circuit Superior Court.
In the wake of Glass’s broadcast last weekend, a website, impeachjudgewilliams.com, has sprung up online. So have two Facebook pages: “Oppose/Impeach/Recall Drug Court Judge Amanda Williams,” created by the Texas coordinator of Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign, and “Impeach Amanda Williams,” created by a Vienna, Va., resident.
An earlier ATLaw blog post about the broadcast drew more than 100 comments criticizing the judge.
Williams told the Daily Report Thursday that judicial ethics canons prevented her from commenting on the report. But she said that death threats had been sent to her old campaign website and are being investigated by the GBI. Local authorities also have beefed up her security, she said.
Judicial Qualifications Commission Director Jeffrey R. Davis said he could not comment on whether complaints have been filed against Williams because the process is confidential until the JQC takes action against a sitting judge.