Atlanta's legal community is watching with great interest the spirited race between Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson "T-Jack" Bedford and challenger, Atlanta Magistrate Court Judge Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Nobody does polling in judicial contests, so it's impossible to know exactly how tight the race is with five days to go before the Nov. 4 election. But we hear talk that T-Jack is worried about his re-election chances. This past Sunday, Bedford was spotted making the rounds at African American churches in South Atlanta looking to shore up his support.
Bedford is white; Bottoms is black. So, for that matter, is Fulton D.A. Paul Howard, who was handcuffed by deputies on Bedford's orders a couple years back during a courtroom disagreement.
That incident, in addition to some criticized rulings, has made Bedford a figure of controversy not a good position for any judge. But Bottoms has spent most of her efforts attacking T-Jack for carrying a huge backlog of cases meaning cases assigned to Bedford that he hasn't heard yet.
There may be many reasons for a judicial backlog: inheriting someone else's caseload, getting bogged down with a long murder trial, etc. On the other hand, a judge could be taking too much time off or isn't forceful enough in urging settlements.
We don't know the reasons for T-Jack's backlog he didn't return our calls but we do know it's alarmingly big. According to statistics provided by the clerk of Fulton Superior Court, as of July, Jackson had 501 criminal cases pending far higher than any other judge on that bench. The runner-up had a backlog of 285 cases and most judges had less than half as many as Bedford.
But another figure is even more worrisome. Bedford had 290 cases that have been pending a year or more. The next-highest was 117 cases and the average was well below 100. These numbers are important because they represent crime victims who are waiting for justice and suspects rotting in jail because they couldn't afford bail.
Bedford's campaign has been busy sending out glossy mailers, but we'd like to see him address the issue of his monumental backlog. The voters have a right to know.
Funny and interesting. Thanks.
"Stadium Love" - Metric
Ben Palmer is a funny dude. I'm saving up to buy his book someday.
Some call it poverty - others call it a simpler life.
you're soooo edgy jr.
Come to the show on Chistmas Eve