Oversight Committee Dismisses Ethical Complaint Against Chattooga County Judge

An oversight committee that investigates ethical complaints against Georgia courts has dismissed a complaint of wrongdoing against Chattooga County Judge Sam Finster.

The Georgia Judicial Qualification Commission received a complaint that State Court Judge Sam Finster illegally made some defendants pay a “court cost.”

The commission ruled the judge’s action was an “oversight” and closed the case against him.

Previous reports indicated that more than 250 defendants were illegally assessed the court costs by the Chattooga County State Court.

Chattooga County Court Clerk Lann Cordle said his office has sent letters to those defendants telling them they can get their money back.

That could add up to 56-thousand dollars in refunds.

According to the Official Code of Georgia, a prosecutor cannot charge costs in a case if the court did not find the defendant guilty.

Finster said he did not know such a practice was illegal.

Two hundred sixty one letters were sent out to defendants who had been charged court costs illegally, but the Court Clerk’s office said that they do not have addresses for everyone who may have been charged improperly.

Former defendants are being asked to fill out a claim form that tells when they were arrested and the charges that were filed against them along with how much money they paid to the court.

Cordle said that none of the defendant’s cases will be returned to court.

(Summerville News)

 

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