IN BRIEF: A year after the issues came to light and after a five hour hearing, the warrant application for two of the five criminal charges sought against Rockdale County Probate Judge Charles K. Mays, Sr. was denied for insufficient evidence in Rockdale Magistrate Court today and described as civil rather than criminal matters.
The application sought a criminal warrant for two counts of theft of services against Pearson, two counts of theft by deception against taxpayers, and one count of forgery.
The last three counts - which Pearson's attorney Mike Waldrop described as being brought in a citizen's action as a taxpayer - were ruled as not having the standing to be brought by Freya Pearson, the woman who worked in Probate Court who alleged that Mays and the county owed her more than $20,000 in backpay.
DeKalb County Magistrate Judge Juwayn Haddad heard the case in place of Rockdale's Magistrate judges, who recused themselves since involved a judge in the same circuit. Haddad said that the last three charges, which alleged were better brought by the District Attorney's office or county attorney or Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Haddad quoted Shakespear's Hamlet to sum up his impression, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." However, he added, the question was one of something being "rotten" versus something being criminal.
The question on the first two counts boiled down to whether the line was crossed in the alleged breach of a verbal contract. "I think it's a labor type issue," he said.
"I don't think it rises to the level of criminal intent," said Haddad. "I do not find there is sufficient probable cause."
He added that the decisions in Magistrate Court he made had no bearing on whether or not the District Attorney or any other prosecuting body such as the county or GBI could or could not bring their own charges.
Mays' attorney Gary Washington, said he and his client had mixed emotions, including "relief, again."
"I think at the end of the day justice prevailed," said Washington. "After all of this, they failed to meet that very low standard of probable cause."
"I think the citizens of Rockdale County paid a high price in use of resources," said Washington, referring to the four county employees and officials being subpoenaed as possible witnesses.
"I think the feelings of justice prevailing are a tad premature," said Pearson's attorney Mike Waldrop."The judge found a lot of substance in what we said," including the fifth count alleging forgery, which Judge Haddad called "very troubling."
Waldrop continued, "He said what I've been saying - why won't the DA do something?"
Nine months ago, Pearson, through Waldrop, who also serves Conyers' attorney, filed for an arrest warrant in Rockdale County Superior Court on largely the same charges. All the judges in the county recused themselves from the case so it was heard by DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Linda Hunter. During initial discussions at the April 15 hearing, Judge Hunter told Pearson and Waldrop that a case of this nature would best be handled in Magistrate Court. The application was dropped in Superior Court and filed instead in Magistrate Court in July.
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