IN BRIEF: The warrant hearing for counts against Rockdale County Probate Judge Charles Mays brought by former Probate Court worker Freya Pearson was deferred after Mays' defense attorney Gary Washington brought up questions of conflict of interest for Pearson's attorney Mike Waldrop, who also serves as the solicitor in the city of Conyers Municipal Court. Pearson reportedly had a traffic ticket from February 2015.
DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Linda Hunter heard the case Wednesday after Rockdale judges recused themselves from hearing the case of a fellow judge in the same circuit.
"I think there is a clear conflict," said Hunter, after hearing Washington's point. She went on to say it also did not pass the "smell test" and had the appearance of a conflict as well. Though there was no cannon of law regulating solicitors cited, Georgia Bar rules and a case of O'Melia vs the State, where a lower court solicitor was found to be in conflict for defending a client in a higher court in Glynn County, were brought up.
"You should have seen it coming a mile away," Hunter said to Waldrop.
Waldrop responded that he did not believe it was a conflict of interest because he and his office would recuse themselves from handling any matters regarding the traffic ticket. He offered to either have the parties involved in the traffic ticket - the city of Conyers and Freya Pearson - give written consent that they did not view this as a conflict of interest. Or to have substitute counsel not from his office.
Judge Hunter gave the parties time to file and respond regarding this matter before she would issue a written ruling.
Washington declined to comment afterward.
Waldrop said he agreed with Judge Hunter's rhetorical question of why wasn't Rockdale District Attorney Richard Read or County Attorney Qader Baig moving these matters forward rather than Waldrop.
"Why is the District Attorney's office not taking control of this?" Waldrop said. The District Attorney, an elected position, and the County Attorney, a position appointed by the elected Commission Chairman, were the proper positions to represent the taxpayers and the county, said Waldrop. He added that he was bringing these matters forward because nobody else was, even though he had shared the information he had with the DA's office and the county attorney. "It's frustrating. It's just frustrating," he said.
A request for a temporary protective order by Pearson from Mays was also dismissed since Mays said he had not been served by the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office with a notice about the TPO.
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