On Thursday, February 23, 2023, the Judicial Qualifications Commission of the State of Georgia issued a scheduling order for the case of Judge Robert Reeves. The case is entitled “In the matter of Robert Reeves” with case no. S23Z0337,
On November 16, 2022, Honorable Robert Reeves was charged with 58 counts of judicial misconduct that include the following: consistent derogatory remarks in the courtroom against members and non-members of the bar, sexual harassment, and inappropriate use of his title as a judge. The formal allegations included Judge Reeves making inappropriate remarks to a Toombs County court attendee while giving instructions.
The filing states:
“He had told the court attendees to remain seated while he finished his instructions. When an African-American male rose and began to leave the courtroom, Judge Reeves is reported as saying, “Sir, you’re walking and I’m telling you to be still. Are you really that retarded?‘”
The filing continues:
“Judge Reeves reportedly made another inappropriate comment while presiding over a criminal calendar in Toombs County. During this instance, it is reported that a jailer asked the Judge when the court would be breaking for lunch, to which Reeves replied: “get the people (inmates) fed? You mean we have to feed these people (inmates)?” The report states that several supporters of the inmates were in the courtroom during this instance, and several became visibly upset after the comment.”
On January 3, 2023, the respondent filed an Extension of Time to Answer the formal charges against him before the Judicial Qualifications Commission of the State of Georgia. The Director consented to the said request for an extension of time. The JQC also agreed that the request was reasonable. Thus, extending the filing deadline for judge Reeves’s answer to January 6, 2023.
On January 6, 2023, an answer to the formal charges was officially submitted by the respondent. judge Reeves denied much of the allegations while likewise denying some part of the material allegations.
The filing further states:
“Judge Reeves does not recall the exact reason why the courtroom audience had been instructed to remain seated. Judge Reeves stated that this individual had already attempted to leave the courtroom once and was personally instructed to remain seated. Judge Reeves cannot recall using the word “retarded” but admits the portion of the third sentence in Paragraph 3 of the Formal Charges that he instructed the individual to remain seated in.”
The filing additionally notes:
“Judge Reeves does not recall the time period of the incident but admits that he made comments and physical motions to the effect as alleged. He denies squeezing B.P.’s shoulder. He further responds that his comments were made in a joking manner to a colleague he had known for years and, based on comments he had heard B.P. make, fully believed she would take his comments to be a joke, as intended. Further, B.P. has told Judge Reeves and others that she knows it was intended as a joke and was upset only because the comment was made in the presence of a member of her staff.”
After the response of Honorable Reeves, the court issued a scheduling order for the aforementioned matter.
The Scheduling Order states:
“On 23 February 2023, pursuant to Rule 24(A) of the Rules of the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC), counsel for both parties joined a scheduled teleconference with the Presiding Officer of the JQC’s Hearing Panel. As a result of that session, the Hearing Panel now sets the following deadlines for this matter:
By 3 April 2023, 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 April 2023, 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 28 April 2023, the parties shall exchange lists of witnesses they intend to call at the final hearing in this case.
Any charge-dispositive motions must be filed by 15 May 2023. Responses are due by 12 June 2023.
A date for the final hearing will be set after further consultatıon with the parties.”
In 2007, Judge Reeves was appointed to the Middle Judicial Circuit bench, which includes the counties of Candler, Emanuel, Jefferson, Toombs, and Washington. He was appointed the circuit’s chief judge in 2020, following Judge Kathy Palmer’s retirement.
A copy of the filing can be found here.