Investigation leads to inquiry
By Faye Ellison
The Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission recently filed a notice of formal proceedings for Glascock County Magistrate Judge Misty May.
According to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, after conducting an extensive investigation of a complaint lodged against May, they have concluded that formal proceedings should be instituted for the purpose of determining whether May committed the acts of which she was accused, and if so, whether she is guilty of violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, willful misconduct or other conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings her office into disrepute.
May was publicly reprimanded last year by the Judicial Qualifications Commission after an investigation that was prompted by a complaint filed against her because of findings in a 2005 audit by Jones, Jones, Davis and Associates.
There are now fives counts to which May will have to file a written verified answer with the Judicial Qualifications Commission within 30 days.
The first count against May is violation of Canon 2: Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all their activities, and Canon 3, Judges shall perform the duties of their office impartially and diligently, or both of the Code of Judicial Conduct. It was alleged that she repeatedly failed to perform the administrative duties required of her judicial office by her failure to make timely bank deposits of monies received by the Magistrate Court and when she failed to make bank deposits that resulted in an overdrawn draft on the bank account for the Magistrate Court of Glasocck County. According to the JQC this conduct is a continuation of conduct for which she was specifically publicly reprimanded on May 21, 2007.
Count two is a violation of Canon 2 and 3, or both, of the Code of Judicial Conduct when she repeatedly failed to file mandated reports with the Georgia Superior Court Clerk’s Cooperative Authority, the Magistrate Retirement Fund, Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund, and Sheriffs’ Retirement Fund of Georgia. The JQC said this was also a continuation of conduct for which she was reprimanded.
At the time of the 2007 reprimand May said that the reports must be filed every 30 days and admitted that her reports were past due on several occasions.
She also said that she was in violation by not making deposits in a timely manner.
The third count is a violation of Canon 2 and 3, or both, as she repeatedly failed to file mandated reports and make payments to the governing authority of Glascock County. This is also a continuation of conduct for which she was reprimanded.
Count four is a violation of Canon 2 and 3, or both, as she repeatedly failed to make payments to the Glascock County Sheriff’s Office, this also being a continuation of conduct for which she was reprimanded.
The fifth and final count, also a violation of Canon 2 and 3, was on July 19, 2007, when she (1) notified a deputy with the Glascock County Sheriff’s Office that she had personally witnessed alleged drug activity in her community and she reported what she believed to be a crime, (2) thereafter called and then met with the deputy to whom she made the report to discuss the crime, and (3) thereafter wrongfully issued and signed a search warrant for the vehicle involved in the alleged crime knowing that she was a material witness to the crime.
As of press time, May’s attorney Shane Geeter had no comment.
Sowing a future
By Faye Ellison
From years and years of experience sewed in his family’s history, Glascock County native John Raley knows something about good seed when he plants it. That is why Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Raley to the Georgia Seed Development Commission.
Raley is also currently the president of the Glascock County Farm Bureau and owns a family farm and R and R Seeds, Inc. in Gibson.
Raley, concerned for his community and the farming industry, currently serves on the Glascock County Board of Education and the volunteer fire and rescue for the Gibson/Glascock County Fire Department and also has served as a Glascock County Commissioner, as the president of the Georgia Crop Improvement Association and the Georgia Seedsman Association.
The job recently bestowed upon him by Gov. Perdue is an important one. He helps, in more ways than one, to bring the best seed to farmers, free of diseases and produce a large yield.
Since 1959, the Georgia Department of Agriculture managed seed development and the distribution of the foundation seed, which is sent to a grower to produce in a larger amount, that would later be sold as certified seed to farmers. Certified seed is more valuable in the long run, due to its quality, Raley said.
“It is an old commission that was in place to purchase, process and resell breeder seeds, the initial parent material that the experiment stations have developed,” Raley said.
Some of the varieties of seeds farmers purchase are 50 years old, but they have to be maintained so they do not change. The Seed Development Commission is in charge of making sure the parent material is maintained as it goes to the farmers and growers. The commission is also in charge of collecting the royalties from farmers and breeders who purchase the seed. In this way funds are given to the production of new varieties of seed that are better than its predecessor or may have different qualities.
In the past, farming may have been somewhat simpler, but with new technology, farmers have to pay a licensing fee to use the seed. For a farmer to use a certified seed leads to more money when selling their product.
“Lots of farmers want it to be like it was in the past,” Raley said. “If you buy a variety, the royalty generates research dollars to make new varieties come along.”
Through a senate bill, now the Seed Development Commission will be managed by a board that is appointed by different people who have a vested interest in Georgia’s agricultural community, including appointments from the governor, the state Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin, the House Agriculture Chair, the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Lieutenant Governor, the Dean of the College of Agriculture and the Associate Dean.
“This has basically taken it from being a commission to a board appointed by several officials,” Raley said. “The people they picked are farmers, like he appointed me as somebody who grows crops, and he picked Ben Copeland Jr. as someone who grows grass. This way it is run more like a business, instead of like a government entity. The thought is that if they can get this out to businessmen and farmers to run it like they run their businesses, then it will advance it on into the future.
“The University of Georgia licenses the seed and we get a license fee back. The Commission was not set in place to govern all that. It’s not like 50 years ago, it is a lot more complex.”
Raley’s grandfather, John Frank Raley, was a big part of the family’s farming business. When he passed away, his grandmother began to help run the farm and much of the duties went to his father, Melvin Raley, and his uncle, Elton Raley.
“Somewhere in the ‘60s to ‘70s we began to produce seed. Before we were more into cattle and raising cotton, then we concentrated on seed production.”
R and R Seed works on the expansion of the foundation seed.
“There are researchers that take information from growers who need a new seed for a new task,” he said. “Through research trail and error, we are given a new seed. Our family farm R and R Seeds expands that. We plant breeder seed and expand on it. Our role is starting new varieties.”
Raley said he was exposed to the Seed Commission years ago when he was a college student in the 1980s who worked with them to earn farm money and college credit.
“This is real new,” Raley said. “The new board has not met yet, our first meeting is Sept. 16 and we are basically going to put down the structure that this board is going to operate the Georgia Seed Development Commission. We are going to manage the Seed Development Commission to meet the farmers.”
SCLC events leading to mass unity rally Sept. 27
By Carol McLeod
The Jefferson County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced recently its plan to hold several rallies during this month.
The first rally is scheduled to be held Saturday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. in Wadley. The event will take place at the Wadley Bartow Citizens League, 93 North Martin Luther King Blvd.
The second rally is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Family Diner, 104 Quaker Road, in Wrens. This rally will start at 7 p.m.
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The third rally, being promoted as a Mass Unity Rally, will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, on the lawn of the courthouse in Louisville.
Attendees to this last rally are encouraged to bring chairs and unity signs, according to a press release from the group.
“The rallies are held to unify the concerned citizens of Jefferson County to launch a nonviolent direct action campaign to address and resolve crime, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, illegal drugs, drug abuse, high gas prices and all other negative entities affecting the county and impeding its growth,” the release stated.
Speakers at the third rally include Rev. Rick Watson, Dr. Charles Steele Jr., Gardner Hobbs, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Maj. Charles Gibbons and Jefferson County Commission Chairman William Rabun.
Incoming officers of the local chapter will be sworn in and a variety of choirs will perform.
There is no charge to attend any of the events and everyone is welcomed to attend.
The space for the second rally, Family Diner, was donated by Isam Evans Jr., James Ivery said. Ivery is the president of the local chapter of the SCLC.
Ivery said Evans may have a concession stand and sell drinks and hot dogs or other food after that rally.