JQC reprimands Albany judge over wife abuse allegations
11:15 am, July 20th, 2012
The state Judicial Qualifications Commission has reprimanded an Albany municipal court judge in connection with an alleged altercation with his wife. The JQC reprimanded Willie Weaver Sr., who presides over the municipal courts of the cities of Albany, Dawson and Sylvester, after Weaver was arrested in May 2011, according to the JQC report to the Supreme Court of Georgia.
The JQC opened an ethics investigation following media reports of Weaver’s arrest on a charge of aggravated assault. Albany news reports stated that Weaver was charged with hitting his wife in the face with a beer bottle. According to news reports, Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation had been called in after Weaver’s wife was taken to a local hospital with facial cuts that required stitches following what the DA described at the time as an alleged incident of domestic violence.
According to the JQC report, a special prosecutor subsequently was appointed to investigate the charge, and Weaver agreed at the time to a suspension without pay pending resolution of the case.
But Weaver’s wife, Vester Weaver, last month convened a news conference with her church pastor to deny that her husband had ever struck her, although she acknowledged at the time that a protective order was in place that barred him from contacting her. Weaver told local news media at the time that she did not ask for the protective order and wanted it lifted.
According to a report in the Albany Journal, the Weavers’ pastor—James Bush of the Greater Pines Chapel Missionary Baptist Church—said that Vesta Weaver “has been forced to learn that you can be separated from your family members with no
understanding of how and why it occurred.”
Loretta Boges, pastor of the The HOPE Center who also attended the news conference with the judge’s wife, said of the judge, “We are proud of him. … Willie has demonstrated that he is an honorable, giving man” who, in addition to serving as a municipal judge, also had served as chairman of the Dougherty County School Board. Boges demanded that the protective order against the judge
be lifted because he had been arrested “wrongfully and without any just basis” and that the “process has been unjust, unfair, and destructive of a strong black family.”
According to the JQC report, Weaver eventually entered a plea deal that dismissed the assault charge. In return, the report said that Weaver agreed to attend marital and stress counseling.
In its report, the JQC said that it had “attempted to balance its responsibility to the public to insure an honorable and independent judiciary with its responsibility to deal fairly with a judge who understands that while the criminal charge was dismissed, the event, and the publicity which followed it, brought discredit upon the judge and the judicial system.”
Both Weaver and his Albany attorney, Mark Brimberry, consented to and signed the JQC report. Brimberry
could be reached for comment Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. Messages left at Weaver’s law office and court chambers also were not returned.