On Sunday, Howard reported on a judge who drew a concealed handgun in the courtroom and offered it to a witness with a smart aleck comment about “killing her case.”
Well, that judge has now turned in his retirement papers.
Judge David Barrett, who last week pulled a gun out during a court hearing in Lumpkin County, has retired, according to a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal dated Wednesday.
Barrett was presiding over a bond hearing for former Hall County deputy Scott Sugarman last week when he pulled out his gun and pretended to offer it to an uncooperative witness, the presiding prosecutor said.
The resignation, which was accepted by Deal, takes effect Thursday.
So, first it’s a retirement, then it’s a resignation. It’s quite likely that this is more than a semantic point; if the judge retired, he’d probably be eligible for his state pension and retirement benefits, which he may not be eligible for if he resigned (or he might get benefits regardless; I’m not familiar with how their benefits work, and I couldn’t find anything online that would indicate one way or the other).
Back to the story, as might be expected from someone who worked closely with the judge for a long time, the local District Attorney had nice things to say about him.
The district attorney [Steve Langley], who was critical of the judge’s actions last week, extended praise of Barrett’s time as chief judge.
“I’ve practiced before him for 13 years and I’ve learned a lot,” he told The Times. “He has a quick mind, great legal knowledge and unimpeachable integrity.
A quick mind is a good thing in a courtroom. A quick draw isn’t.
Retired or resigned, I’m glad he won’t be on the bench anymore.