Judicial Qualifications Commission seeks Judge Mack Crawford’s removal from office

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) has filed formal charges against Griffin Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Robert M. “Mack” Crawford and is seeking to remove him from office.

According to the formal charges filed in the Supreme Court of Georgia, the JQC Investigative Panel conducted a full investigation of multiple complaints, considered Crawford’s responses both in person before the Panel and in writing and voted for the formal charges seeking Crawford’s removal from the bench to be filed.

“The acts of judicial misconduct giving rise to these Formal Charges stem from four separate complaints filed with the Commission. In the interest of judicial economy, these Formal Charges are based only on one of the complaints, the complaint regarding Judge Crawford’s most egregious misconduct: the theft from the registry of the Superior Court of Pike County. However, Judge Crawford has also generally violated the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct (the “Code”) through a pattern and practice of failing to ‘dispose of all judicial matters fairly, promptly, and efficiently,’” the charge reads. “Judge Crawford routinely fails to schedule hearings, issue orders, and otherwise proceed with the business of resolving cases before him. This failure has resulted in a large backlog of cases, which have issues ripe for resolution, yet sit pending for years at a time waiting for Judge Crawford to take meaningful action.”

Four examples of Crawford’s alleged code violations were cited.

In Americani v. Demagnus, Crawford allegedly “failed to rule on an uncontested motion for summary judgment for over three years;” in Sherer v. Sherer, Crawford allegedly “failed to take any meaningful action to adjudicate this divorce case for over two years;” in Ingle v. Cotter, Crawford allegedly “failed to hold a hearing on a legitimation petition, which resulted in his entry of an illegal order, and then transferred the case to juvenile court to avoid dealing with the matter;” and State v. Mustafa Mahdi and State v. Thomas Zerbarini were cited as being “illustrative of Judge Crawford’s large backlog of criminal cases, many of which remain pending for years before final disposition.”

However, the formal charge being levied against Crawford is based on his alleged conversion of money from the registry of Pike County Superior Court.

The charge alleges Crawford ordered the Pike County Clerk to issue to him a check in the amount of $15,675.62, which he then reportedly cashed. He allegedly used some of those funds and deposited the remainder in his personal checking account.

The funds originated with a case in which Crawford represented clients seeking to redeem property following a tax sale. The $15,675.62 was deposited by the plaintiffs to pay the defendant – who had purchased the property at the tax sale – in the event the court ruled on their behalf.

However, that case was dismissed in 2009, and the money remained in the court’s registry until Crawford allegedly ordered the clerk to write the check to him.

“Judge Crawford at one point claimed that at least a part of this money was owed to him for his prior representation of the plaintiffs, that claim was false. The funds either belonged to his clients or were unclaimed property that should have gone to the Georgia Department of Revenue,” the complaint states. “Only after Judge Crawford became aware of this Commission’s and law enforcement’s investigation into the matter did he remit those funds to the DOR.”

A hearing will be held at a future date to determine if the charge against Crawford is merited and whether he will be removed from office.

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Comments

  1. Christine Smith says:

    Hey grip! He made wrongful judgements in my case as well. In May. How do I report such?

  2. Wow. Terrible story. I appreciate your reporting it.

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