Georgian Judge was Supreme Courtroom Car Crash

By Will Godfrey 09/07/11

A gun-toting, eyebrow-shaving, boss-baiting painkiller and marijuana addict, who also just happened to be a judge, has been ushered towards a new phase of his career.

Peters listens to the inevitable. Photo via

A judge from Georgia has provided clinching evidence that addiction strikes every stratum of society. Catoosa County magistrate Anthony Peters' spectacular painkiller- and marijuana-induced meltdown included pointing a gun at himself, kicking down doors, ranting against his boss on TV and being led away from his own courthouse in cuffs. Now he's been banned from the bench for life. Peters made magistrate in 1997, but his life changed dramatically after his father's suicide and a bad ATV accident in 2005. Unsuccessful surgeries and painkiller prescriptions saw him behaving bizarrely by February 2009, when he went to a house to help a relative and ended up kicking two doors in. That spring, he pointed a gun at himself in the courthouse while challenging a fellow judge: "I am not scared. Are you?" Co-worker complaints reached the ears of Chief Magistrate Judge Sonny Caldwell, who initiated an investigation—by then, Peters had shaved his head and eyebrows, talked of suicide, and asked odd questions to defendants about drugs and alcohol. Caldwell's questionable reaction was to try to place his crazed colleague on the night-shift—this led to a fierce dispute that only ended when deputies hauled Peters away in cuffs. Undeterred, he called a local TV talkshow, publicly describing his boss as "spineless" and unmasking a confidential informant on air. He called back the next day, adopting a number of fake accents to conceal his identity—but caller ID instantly betrayed him. He went ahead and pronounced Caldwell a "spineless jelly spine" anyway. He was finally placed on "administrative leave" in June 2010. At a hearing to determine his fate yesterday, he admitted to smoking marijuana "at least" once a week between March and May 2010, but argued he'd already been punished enough. However, his refusal to seek drug treatment didn't impress. "Those judicial officers who cannot give the public... confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary—do not deserve to continue to hold judicial office," stated the court, kicking him off the bench for life in the state of Georgia. Peters' attorney was unsurprised by the verdict. He said that his client has found new work and is now doing "very well."


Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Will Godfrey.jpg

Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.