Sumter County State Court Judge resigns amid investigation

AMERICUS, Ga. — Russ Barnes, the Sumter County State Court judge who, earlier this month, prompted a search by sheriff's officials after he failed to come home, has resigned from the bench.

Barnes, who was taken to a crisis center after being found at the Americus Walmart parking lot, asked Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday to accept his resignation from the bench. Deal has accepted it.

Barnes had been under investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission. According to a consent order posted Friday on the JQC website, Barnes was under investigation for various complaints that he had mismanaged or misappropriated funds that he held in a fiduciary capacity and that he "engaged in conduct which brought this judicial office in disrepute and undermined public confidence in the judiciary."

The consent order states that in light of his resignation, the commission has agreed to drop its investigation on the condition that Barnes never seek an elected or appointed position as a judge.

Included in the consent order is a hand-written letter from Barnes to Deal asking to be allowed to resign from his post.

"I have enjoyed my service in such capacity but must resign my position. Thank you for your consideration," Barnes writes.

According to the State Bar of Georgia website, Barnes is still a lawyer in good standing in Georgia. He was first admitted to the bar in 1990 and is a graduate of Mercer Law School.


FryarTuk 1 year, 10 months ago

Another good lawyer gone bad? Or another bad lawyer gone for good? Adios.


chinaberry25 1 year, 10 months ago

Now he really has problems. A small town lawyer is more about image than bucks. So now he will really have to work. But hey! he may not be a lawyer. A judge does not have to be one.


FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 10 months ago

How about a judge so weighed down by the pressures of the job he broke? As a paralegal, I can state unequivocally that the legal profession is an unforgiving profession. My heart goes out to Mr. Barnes....


Cartman 1 year, 10 months ago

This was a surprise to almost everyone who knew Russ Barnes. He was well-liked and well thought of by most everyone with whom he had contact.


Sign in to comment