Pot-smoking, gun-toting judge on trial

April 16, 2011 at 12:20 PM
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ATLANTA, April 16 (UPI) -- A Georgia judge who smoked marijuana and feuded with his boss says he has turned his life around and should keep his job.

Anthony Peters, a magistrate in Catoosa County in northwest Georgia, was tried Thursday and Friday before the state Judicial Qualifications Commission, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. No verdict was announced.

"We've seen many people who have fallen and gotten back up," said his attorney, Chris Townley.

Witnesses said Peters' bizarre and belligerent behavior had frightened court staff. A fellow magistrate said he once pointed a gun at his own head and said, "I'm not afraid to die. Are you afraid to die?"

Appalachian Circuit District Attorney Joe Hendricks, prosecuting the case, noted Peters' addiction to prescription opiates after a 2005 vehicle accident. Peters said he smoked marijuana to get off the narcotics.

Peters would not say who supplied him with the marijuana. "He came into this tribunal and he sat there and protected the distributor of a controlled substance," Hendricks said.

Peters was arrested after a June 2010 confrontation with Catoosa County Chief Magistrate Donald Caldwell, who had appointed him.

"I'm not the same person," Peters said. "I put my heart and soul into that job."

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