Cannon said he felt the need to respond because he was so upset the Sheriff’s Office was being perceived as “a joke,” the complaint said. He also admitted that he knew he was “pushing the rule,” the complaint said.
The JQC filing said Cannon committed six violations of the code of judicial conduct. Among them: he failed to act in a manner that promoted public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary; he lent the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others; and he commented on a pending case in a court on which he serves.
Chuck Boring, the JQC’s director, declined to comment.
Tate, who once headed the judicial watchdog agency, said he hopes to work out a satisfactory resolution.
But Tate also noted that the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 struck down a rule in Minnesota that barred judicial candidates from commenting on disputed legal or political issues.
“Judge Cannon did not surrender his First Amendment rights when he became a judge,” Tate said. “What they’re trying to do here is stitch together other provisions from the code of judicial conduct to infringe upon a judge’s free speech rights. I don’t think they can do that.”
Long, who is also charged with murder in Fulton County, is expected to resolve the murder charges against him in Cherokee during an arraignment hearing set for Tuesday.
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