Georgia Chief Judge David Barrett, chief judge of the Enotah Judicial Circuit, has resigned over what the district attorney called “a poor rhetorical point.” District Attorney Jeff Langley’s description may not quite capture the moment. Barrett pulled out a gun in his courtroom in the Enotah Judicial Circuit and told a women in a domestic assault case “You might as well shoot your lawyer.”
The incident was captured on court surveillance cameras, but Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard said that a “glitch” prevented him from seeing the film. While it is not unlawful for a judge to have a gun in a Georgia courtroom, a charge could be brought in a case of brandishing or threatening conduct. Notably, even without the tape, there is witness testimony that would appear to establish the basis for a possible criminal charge. Gainesville lawyer Dan Summer, who was questioning the witness on the stand at the time, said it “was a little bit reckless. … I was a little concerned when it was pointed at me.”
If someone pulls out a gun and points it at a waitress to make a “poor culinary point” about the chicken pot pie, how would that be treated in Lumpkin County. It will be interesting how the next such case is treated by the Sheriff involving an ordinary citizen.
Barrett pulled out his gun when told a woman testifying about a domestic assault that she was “killing her case.” Langley said that he told Barrett to put his gun away and the judge complied.
While it is hard to see when pulling a gun would make a point of any kind for a judge, to do so with a woman testifying on a temporary protective order in a domestic abuse case could not be a worse time. It certainly took attention away from the anger issues of Scott Sugarman, a former Hall County sheriff’s deputy, who is also charged with rape and aggravated assault with a handgun. So you have a former deputy accused of assault with a handgun and a judge who whips out his gun to make a legal point.