On Tuesday, September 6, 2022, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission issued a scheduling order relating to the misconduct case of Douglas County Probate Court Judge Christina Peterson.

The accusations of Judge Peterson’s misconduct included in the Formal Charges relate to several complaints to the JQC and cover a period of time from when she was a practicing attorney through her most recent judicial service. According to the earliest complaint, she mismanaged and stole money from a settlement she received for herself and nine neighbors in a lawsuit she filed against their homeowner’s association in 2017.

The next allegation centers on allegedly false statements Judge Peterson made to the JQC regarding her capacity to represent adoptive foster parents in Georgia after being appointed to the court. The third set of claims involves allegations of indecorous and/or intemperate conduct and flouting and abuse of court security protocols. A fourth accusation relates to a rule that Judge Peterson allegedly put in place that gave her the only authority to withhold copies of marriage applications and certificates that would otherwise be open to the public.

Finally, the most recent complaint before the Hearing Panel alleges that Judge Peterson held a citizen in contempt and ordered her jailed for twenty days without due process. These allegations, detailed in four separate complaints filed against Judge Peterson, yielded the Formal Charges brought by the Director and approved by the JQC’s Investigative Panel.

On July 19, 2022, the JQC’s Investigative Panel filed a second motion for interim suspension of Judge Peterson. According to the motion, Judge Peterson’s conduct amounts to willful misconduct in office, willful and persistent failure to perform the duties of office, habitual intemperance, and is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

On August 23, 2022, the Supreme Court of Georgia turned down the suspension request, stating that “while some of the charges are relatively minor, many are quite significant. If proved they may well warrant severe discipline. But we see no reason why that proof should not have to be offered in the ordinary course.”

On September 2, 2022, counsel for both parties joined a scheduling teleconference with the Presiding
Officer of the JQC’s Hearing Panel. After the session, the Hearing Panel established the deadlines in relation to the matter.

The scheduling order reads:

By 3 October 2022, the parties shall exchange lists of witnesses believed to have knowledge of the facts of this case, per JQC Rule 22(A).

Also by 3 October 2022, both parties shall comply with JQC Rule 22(B) and provide each other with all “other evidence” as that term is defined in Rule 22.

By 24 October 2022, the parties shall exchange lists of witnesses they intend to call at the final hearing in this case.

Dispositive motions are due by 2 December 2022; responses thereto must be filed by 30 December 2022.

The hearing on the Formal Charges will occur in early 2023 and is expected to last no more than one week.

The Judge earned a law degree from the Wisconsin School of Law in 2023.
The Judge’s Courtroom is at 8700 Hospital Drive 3rd Floor, Judicial Side in Douglasville, and can be reached at 770-920-7249. https://www.celebratedouglascounty.com/219/Probate-Court

A copy of the original filing can be found here.