Judge Amanda F. Williams of the Brunswick, GA judicial circuit announced recently that she will resign as judge. Judge Williams runs the Drug Court program for her judicial circuit. Typically, Georgia jurisdictions that have a drug court or DUI court use them in cases where a Defendant is a repeat offender. Drug Court or DUI Court occurs after a conviction for the underlying drug or DUI charge and is a form of intensive probation that can last for several years and require weekly appearances before the judge, drug and alcohol screens, house checks, zero tolerance for the use of any substance, community service, counseling, etc. Any error can make the Judge punish the offender with jail time, fines, and other sanctions.
In March 2011, the radio show "This American Life" did a story about Judge Williams' Drug Court. The show featured how Judge Williams violated the philosophy of drug courts by being overly punitive and giving indefinite jail sentences. The Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission followed up with a 14 count complaint against Judge Williams stating that she incarcerated defendants with no definite time period, made false statements, and engaged in nepotism and was tyrannical. In mid-December, Judge Williams sent a letter to Gov. Deal indicating her resignation effective early January 2012.