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Municipal Court judge recuses himself in City Council President Paris' case

Judge Robert Faulkner cited a potential conflict of interest this morning and recused himself in the Municipal Court case against City Council President Miriam Paris.

Paris appeared before the judge shortly after 9 a.m. and through her attorney J. Anderson Ramay expressed her intention to plead not guilty after she was cited in a confrontation involving a Macon police officer and a postal carrier over Paris' dog.

Faulkner said he was "strongly" advised by ex-members of the Judicial Qualifications Commission that he should not preside over the case. The Municipal Court is funded through Macon City Council over which Paris presides.

Faulkner said he was exploring the possibility that a judge from Monroe County would hear the case but the details have not been set.

"As soon as I can work everything out with him I will notify y'all of the court date," Faulkner said.

Paris was ticketed outside her Suwanee Avenue home after a postal worker flagged down a city police officer to complain about her dog. Paris got into a confrontation with the officer that led to conversations with Police Chief Mike Burns and Deputy Chief Mike Carswell.

Paris also initially refused to provide her driver’s license and asked the officer for a copy of the city’s leash law. At one point the officer, Jon Wantz, asked Paris if she was a City Council member.

“Aah ... I think I’m the president,” she replied, Wantz said.

She was cited with failure to restrain a dog and resisting or interfering with an officer.

Ramay said he still plans to file a motion to dismiss the case as his investigation showed the incident did not warrant the charges against his client.

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