Judge arrested at Atlanta nightclub removed from office for ‘judicial misconduct’

An Atlanta judge, who was recently arrested for allegedly hitting a police officer outside an Atlanta nightclub, should be removed from office after an ongoing investigation into separate ethics charges, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

Douglas County Probate Judge Christina Peterson, 38, was removed from the bench effective Tuesday. The Georgia Supreme Court ruling comes after the Judicial Qualifications Commission found Peterson guilty of “systemic incompetence” and recommended her removal in April.

In one misconduct case, the court was troubled by Peterson’s decision to jail a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Thailand after the woman sought to amend her marriage license with the name of her real father.

Peterson ruled the woman was trying to defraud the court and sentenced her to a maximum of 20 days in jail, which could be reduced to two days if the woman paid a $500 fine. The woman paid the fine and was released after two days.

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The panel, however, found that the woman was “in good faith trying to correct” what appeared to be “an innocent mistake borne out of ignorance rather than ill-intent,” according to the court documents.

The court found that Peterson made “untruthful” testimony to the panel about the case, saying that “underscores her conscious wrongdoing” in finding the woman guilty of criminal contempt.

This was one of 30 counts brought against Peterson. The court found that 12 of those counts warranted discipline.

“Accordingly, it is ordered that Judge Christina Peterson of the Douglas County Probate Court be removed from office, effective upon the date of this opinion,” the court ruled, noting that Peterson will not be eligible to be elected or appointed to any future judicial position in Georgia for seven years.

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As Peterson was dealing with the misconduct allegations, she was arrested early Thursday at the Red Martini Restaurant and Lounge after allegedly pushing an Atlanta police officer in the chest twice during an altercation.

Christina Peterson in police custody

Atlanta police released bodycam video of the incident and said the officer was working an approved extra job at the time.

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Peterson’s attorney, Marvin Arrington Jr., told reporters during a press conference on Friday that Peterson was trying to defend a woman who was being attacked by an unknown man and should not have been arrested.

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