The Supreme Court of Georgia permanently removed Twiggs County Probate Judge Kenneth Fowler in a ruling published this morning.
Georgia's justices also barred Fowler from ever holding judical office again in the state after finding substantial evidence of misconduct on and off the bench.
“Judge Fowler’s misconduct, both before and after the hearing on the formal charges against him, shows that he is simply unwilling to live up to his legal and ethical responsibilities as a judge,” the opinion states. “His ignorance of the law is inexcusable, and his abuse of his judicial office unacceptable."
The Judicial Qualifications Commission began investigating Fowler in the fall of 2008. Following a hearing in January, the commission determined Fowler violated several canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct with such practices as allowing defendants the option to "buy out" of their community service and deposited those funds in his own account. Fowler also abused and insulted those who appeared before him in court and told defendants it was their duty to prove their innocence.
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Fowler was removed from the bench with pay in May after threatening to discontinue business with a probation company after two probation officers testified against him before the commission.
Come back to macon.com for more on this story or read Tuesday's Telegraph.