On Tuesday, June 25, 2024, the Supreme Court of Georgia ordered the removal of Douglas County Probate Judge Christina Peterson from office.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Judge Christina Peterson,” with case number S22Z0180.

Peterson, who has been the probate judge since December 2020, faced over 50 counts of alleged misconduct filed by the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission in September 2021. The allegations accused Peterson of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct on multiple occasions, which exhibited an ongoing pattern of improper behavior during her time on the bench.

While only 28 counts were found to have clear evidence by an agency hearing panel in March, it was ruled that Peterson’s actions warranted disciplinary action for 20 of those counts. The panel recommended Peterson’s removal from office, claiming the most troubling allegation involved Peterson unjustly holding a woman in 20 days of criminal contempt and imposing fines over a marriage certificate error without cause.

The Supreme Court agreed with the hearing panel’s decision, citing Peterson’s “multiple violations” that reflected a “flagrant disregard for the law, court rules, and judicial conduct rules.” They also noted her behavior established a “pattern of violations,” some being “extremely concerning.” As a result, the high court issued the ruling on June 25th to formally remove Peterson from her position as Douglas County Probate Judge.

Peterson will be ineligible for any judicial role in Georgia for seven years following her removal. She had already lost her bid for re-election in the Democratic primary last month. Peterson’s tenure was plagued by ethical charges for most of her term in office, with the JQC amending their original filing three times.

Peterson’s attorney called the removal a loss in their fight to defend her but said they provided a strong defense in dismissing many allegations and blocking attempts for her interim suspension. However, the Supreme Court ultimately agreed removal was the appropriate outcome to uphold judicial standards and propriety given Peterson’s disregard for the rules she was meant to uphold from the bench.

Peterson also faces criminal charges from an incident last week where she was arrested at a Buckhead nightclub. Police records show Peterson was charged with simple battery against an officer and felony obstruction for allegedly hitting an officer during a dispute where she intervened to help a woman being attacked.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.