Chief Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver
Brenda S. Weaver (Rebecca Breyer)

The state Judicial Qualifications Commission has dismissed four ethics complaints filed against its former chairwoman—Appalachian Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver—saying it found “no grounds” to discipline her over her alleged role in the indictment last year of a North Georgia newspaper publisher and his lawyer, according to the commission’s report to the Supreme Court of Georgia.

The ethics complaints against Weaver were lodged by Mark Thomason, publisher of The Fannin Focus; Thomason’s lawyer, Hiawassee attorney Russell Stookey; Fannin County Attorney Lynn Doss and the Georgia Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the report states.

Weaver was investigated in connection with allegations that she had abused her judicial position, engaged in “willful misconduct” and “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice,” all violations of the state Code of Judicial Conduct, the report said.

The decision was reached by an investigative panel of the new JQC, which was reconstituted on July 1. The old, constitutionally independent JQC, which Weaver chaired before she resigned after the complaints were filed, was abolished by a constitutional amendment spearheaded by state legislators that voters approved last year. A new, expanded commission created by the state General Assembly was bifiurcated into an investigative panel and a judicial panel.

The commission’s current chairman, Edward Tolley, and member Richard Hyde—both of whom served on the JQC with Weaver and were reappointed to the new commission—recused, the report said.