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Judge Caldwell has stepped down; agrees not to seek office again

Griffin circuit Judge Johnnie L. Caldwell Jr. of Thomaston has resigned his post, effective April 23. UPDATE: There are reports emanating from Atlanta media sources that at least one investigator from the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission was at courthouses in the circuit today with regard to an investigation. Additionally, Caldwell has signed an agreement with the JQC to never seek office again.” GBI public affairs officer John Bankhead said Tuesday evening his office is not yet involved in any investigation into Judge Caldwell. Pike sheriff Jimmy Thomas reported late Tuesday his office is not involved in any investigation involving Caldwell and a former county employee Caldwell sentenced for sexual battery just days ago. The hand written document Caldwell presented the JQC reads in black ink: “I hereby agree to never seek or accept judicial office again. In blue ink is the notation ‘Accepted’ followed by the signature of Richard Hyde. Richard Hyde is an investigator for the JQC. The document is dated April 19. In a handwritten letter submitted to Governor Sonny Perdue Monday, April 19, Caldwell said he wanted ‘time to visit with my grandkids and maybe practice law.’ You can read the letter here Caldwell, 63, appointed in 1995 to the Griffin Judicial Circuit post, was re-elected four times without opposition, most recently in 2008. He had served as the circuit’s district attorney for 13 years before that. For the past year or so, Caldwell has been at the epicenter of the battle over taxpayer funding of death penalty cases through the Jamie Weis murder case here in Pike County. Gov. Perdue responded, “I am in receipt of your letter of resignation dated April 19, 2010, you indicated your intent to resign, effective April 23, 2010. Your resignation as Superior Court Judge of the Griffin Judicial Circuit is hereby accepted.”

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