ALBANY ALBANY -- As first reported on the Albany Herald's twitter page, former Municipal Court Judge Willie Weaver reclaimed his job Tuesday following a split vote by the Albany City Commission.
Weaver, who was placed on a leave of absence after being charged with aggravated assault after an incident in May involving his wife, had his warrants dismissed by Crisp County District Attorney Denise Fachini pending his completion of a stress management and counseling course.
Fachini was assigned to the case by the Attorney General after Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards recused himself.
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In a 4-2 vote, with Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta and Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff dissenting, the commission voted to immediately reinstate Weaver as Chief Municipal Court judge, after meeting in executive session and then questioning Weaver in an open session Tuesday.
Weaver told the commissioners that he feels he's ready to be back on the bench following more than four months of counseling, but refuted claims made by his wife on a police report filed at the time that said he hit her in the head with a bottle.
"I did not strike her with a bottle," he said, in response to a question from Langstaff. "There were things going on in our marriage that led my wife to make those statements...I've learned a lot from this and, while I didn't do anything to my wife, I know that can't allow myself to get into a situation where allegations could be made."
Marietta asked Weaver about whether he was waving a gun in the air, as referenced in a police report. Weaver denied it, saying that claim was made by his mother-in-law who wasn't around when the incident occurred.
Ward III Commissioner Christopher Pike said he understood the challenges and stress that a marriage can bring and that he can understand the added stress of being a public official but reminded Weaver that his position is a public one that is scrutinized by the people.
"I want you to know that after looking at your situation and talking to you here, I feel comfortable with you going back on the bench so long as you finish your counseling and understand that we, as public officials, are held to a higher standard," Pike said.
When it came time to vote on the matter, Langstaff said that he would be voting against putting Weaver back on the bench because he has specific questions about the incident that Weaver was unwilling to discuss in open session and, based on the advice of City Attorney Nathan Davis, the commission couldn't interview Weaver in closed session.
Marietta said he would vote against it because Weaver's counseling technically isn't done and so he hasn't fully satisfied the condition of Fachini's dismissal.
After the meeting, Weaver declined any additional comment other than to say that he was glad to have an opportunity to get back onto the bench.
As a city appointee, Weaver's term will expire in January. At which time the board will consider reappointment for another year term.