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ATLANTA � Don’t mess with a judge who keeps a baseball bat in his chambers. When Fulton County Superior Court Judge Marvin S. Arrington was told a domestic violence defendant appearing at a bond hearing had threatened the court staff, he told his staff, “You all go back there and get my Hank Aaron baseball bat.” The defendant, 36-year-old Gary L. Carroll, and his lawyer, Dennis Scheib, claim the judge “brandished” the bat, resulting in a “terroristic threat.” However, affidavits from others in the courtroom suggest Arrington may have been guilty only of theatrics. A prosecutor said she never even saw the bat, and the defendant’s former lawyer said that while he saw a bat, he was not threatened. Nonetheless, Arrington granted the motion for recusal, explaining that he has strong feelings about domestic violence because he represented a woman 25 years ago who was murdered after she secured a restraining order against her husband. He went on to say his disqualification might not be merited because the incident happened so long ago, but “this court will recuse on the instant matter without the necessity of referring the case for consideration of the recusal motion.” Arrington also refused to grant bond for Carroll, who faces one count of aggravated stalking and one count of terroristic threats stemming primarily from the alleged intimidation of his ex-wife. Right after Arrington sent for his bat, lead prosecutor Laura Janssen, who maintained she never saw the bat, told the judge that his request was ironic because the defendant had threatened to use a baseball bat against his ex-wife if he got out of jail. “Well, he ain’t going to get my baseball bat,” Arrington said, according to a transcript of the hearing. The defendant’s recollection differed markedly from that of the prosecutor. In an affidavit, Carroll said Arrington “placed the bat above his shoulder and started waving the bat in my direction.” The defendant’s parents, Robert and Deborah Rose of Galax, Va., also recalled in affidavits and in an interview with the Daily Report that the judge held the bat up to his shoulder “in a threatening manner.” “He [Arrington] said, ‘I’ve got one, too,’” Robert Rose said in an interview with the Daily Report. “This man makes a mockery of his courtroom.” The lawyer who represented Carroll at the bond hearing, Clay Thompson of Snellville, Ga., agreed Arrington had a bat but said, “I have to admit he wasn’t waving it around, though.” He added that he didn’t feel threatened. In an interview with the Daily Report, Arrington said he didn’t intend to threaten the defendant, and he demonstrated how he held the bat between his knees and, at one point, pointed the smaller end toward the defense table, commenting to those in the courtroom, “This thing can kill.” “It wasn’t directed to [the defendant],” Arrington said. Arrington added that Scheib, the defendant’s new lawyer, “has a lust for publicity.” The case has been reassigned to Fulton Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt-Cummings Moore, according to Janssen. Scheib, who took over the case after the bond hearing and filed the motion to recuse, said he will pursue a bond with the new judge. “I’ve never seen such outrageous conduct from a judge as I have from Marvin Arrington,” he said. “And I’m just not one of these lawyers who’s going to turn his cheek.” Steven H. Pollak is a reporter with a Recorder affiliate based in Atlanta.

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