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DeKalb judge quits amid probe
By Megan Matteucci The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
11:28 a.m. Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A DeKalb County State Court judge announced her resignation and agreed to never serve as a judge again as part of an investigation into allegations she was improperly running vehicle tags. Judge Barbara Mobley’s last day will be Friday, her attorney Jackie Patterson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. Patterson declined to talk about why Mobley was stepping down, but confirmed that she had reached an agreement with the state's Judicial Qualifications Commission. Jeff Davis, director of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, said the state commission had been investigating allegations that Mobley and others improperly accessed the Georgia Crime Information Center, which includes criminal histories, arrests, fingerprints, driving records and other information. “Judge Mobley has not violated any rule, and there will be no prosecution,” Patterson said. "There were allegations of the GCIC use, but she was never questioned by the GBI or any law enforcement." Last week, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation told the AJC it was doing "a preliminary review" of a DeKalb State Court judge on allegations the GCIC was illegally accessed. The GBI operates the GCIC. Individuals must be certified to access information on the GCIC, and it must be for a law enforcement purpose, GBI spokesman John Bankhead said. Bankhead declined to identify the subject of the review, saying it is still ongoing. On Monday, Mobley and her attorney entered into a “consent order” as the result of the JQC investigation. (1 of 3)2/2/2011 4:55:28 AM

DeKalb judge quits amid probe |

“The consent order further provides that Judge Mobley will not seek, request or accept elected or appointed judicial office or senior judge status in the state of Georgia following her resignation,” Davis said. “This agreement concludes the JQC’s investigation into this matter.” The consent order was not available Monday, but officials said it would be filed with the state Supreme Court on Friday. The judicial commission has the ability to remove judges for unethical behavior. However, if a judge agrees to step down, the results of the commission's investigation remain confidential. “If you step down before a formal hearing, the allegations remain private,” Patterson said. “She chose not to have a hearing before the JQC. That’s why an agreement was reached so these allegations would not go any further.” The AJC obtained a letter Mobley sent to Gov. Nathan Deal announcing her resignation. “I want to thank the people of Georgia and DeKalb County for allowing me to serve,” the judge wrote. The governor would have to appoint a new judge to fill Mobley’s vacancy. State Court Chief Judge Wayne M. Purdom said Mobley’s cases will be divided between the other judges and a magistrate or senior judge who may assist. “We think we can cover the bulk of the work without costing the county any more money,” he told the AJC. “We don’t anticipate it having a huge effect.” Patterson said Mobley could practice law if she wanted, but she plans to do international judicial consulting. Mobley was elected to State Court in 2005. State Bar of Georgia records show she was admitted to practice law in 1985 and remains in good standing. Paula Frederick, general counsel for the Bar, said she was unaware of the investigation into Mobley. Frederick said the Bar usually investigates when the JQC takes action, but the rules of conduct for judges are stricter than the rules for attorneys. Davis said Mobley will still receive her pension. Mobley made about $150,000 a year. Last year, Mobley was under fire when a joint investigation between the AJC and Channel 2 Action News found that she had spent nearly $25,000 in taxpayers’ money traveling to conferences in Jamaica, Panama and the Virgin Islands over three years. The investigation found spent 84 days in a three-year period -- 2007 to 2009 -- out of the office at training and conferences. This did not include sick and vacation time. At the time, Mobley said she needed training. (2 of 3)2/2/2011 4:55:28 AM

DeKalb judge quits amid probe |

Mobley also was scrutinized in 2009 when she racked up more than $3,800 in cell phone charges in 2008. This included $220 in roaming fees for the 83 calls she made during the trip to the Virgin Islands. Mobley did not return multiple phone calls, and Patterson said she did not want to talk with reporters.

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