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Posted: January 14, 2010 6:32 p.m.

Members of judge's family sentenced in 2008 family fight

Submitted Photo /

Peggy Capes

Family members of juvenile court judge Sherri Roberts were sentenced Jan. 8 for a family fight that ended with several arrests at the end of 2008.


The charges stemmed from an incident on Dec. 28, 2008 when neighbors called authorities to a home on Crestview Drive just after midnight. When officers from the Covington Police Department arrived they reportedly found the front yard littered with beer cans but no one outside of the residence.


Moments later Matthew Roberts, husband to the judge, allegedly emerged from the garage and informed the officers that he, James Kevin Cruikshank (the judge’s brother-in-law) and Gigi Cruikshank (the judge’s sister) had been in an altercation but that everything was now fine. Gigi was questioned inside the home and reportedly corroborated Roberts’s story.


She was also asked if there was anyone else inside the home Roberts reportedly became irate and began cursing at the officers. He allegedly fought officers when they attempted to handcuff him as well. Gigi was asked about her husband’s whereabouts and she refused to answer, according to reports, but a search of the house found that James Cruikshank was in a back bedroom.


When officers located James he reportedly became embroiled in a verbal and physical altercation with officers. He was escorted out of the home where officers said he became more aggressive, requiring them to use Tasers to get him under control. After being checked by EMS officers began once more to attempt to handcuff James at which point Gigi reportedly ran outside and grabbed the officers, attempting to prevent them from arresting her husband.


Peggy Capes, the judge’s mother, arrived at the home and she too got into an altercation with officers, refusing to cooperate. Officers reported smelling alcohol on her person at the time.


James was charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct and battery; Roberts was charged with obstruction and disorderly conduct as was Gigi. Peggy Capes was charged with public drunkenness. A citation was issued on the charges against 62-year-old Capes, which was handled in municipal court. The court allowed her to plead guilty to disorderly conduct and pay a $287 fine.


Newton County District Attorney Ken Wynne recused himself from prosecuting the case because of his professional relationship with the judge. The case was referred to the Attorney Generals office per Georgia law.


The Attorney General’s officer assigned the case to Ocmulgee Judicial Court under Milledgeville District Attorney Frederic Bright. On Jan. 8 Roberts, and both Gigi and James Kevin Cruikshank pled guilty and were sentenced.


Gigi and Roberts were sentenced to 12 months probation and a $500 fine. Both qualified as first offenders because they had no prior criminal record. Kevin was initially charged with felony obstruction of a police officer but took a negotiated plea agreement where charged were merged and reduced to misdemeanors. He was unable to qualify as a first offender since he had two convictions of DUI in both 1983 and 1989. He was sentenced to 36 months probation and a fine of $1,000.

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