Atlanta judge Gundy suspended for 90 days for ethics lapses

The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Atlanta Municipal Court Judge Terrinee Gundy receive a public reprimand and be suspended 90 days without pay for ethical lapses.

The decision notes that, from September 2015 to February 2018, Gundy often showed up late to work, including well after she was supposed to be presiding over court hearings. She also was accused of “excessive absenteeism,” missing work 122 days from January 2016 through July 2018.

Gundy was also accused of taking steps to conceal her tardiness and absenteeism and misleading the state judicial watchdog agency’s investigative panel, the court said.

The ruling also notes that because Gundy refused to allow six defendants to be brought to her courtroom from the jail in March 2017, they remained incarcerated for several days after they should have been released.

The court had been presented with a proposed agreement between Gundy and the state Judicial Qualifications Commission. The proposal recommended a suspension of between 30 and 90 days and a public reprimand.

In accepting the agreement, the Supreme Court noted the case has been pending for more than three years. And it decided Gundy needed to be suspended without pay for 90 days, the maximum time under the proposal, because the allegations are “serious.”

The justices said the incident involving the six defendants “is particularly concerning to us.” The court said it accepts the resolution “with some hesitation.”

But both Gundy and the people she serves deserve a resolution and the case would be delayed even further if the court were to reject the proposed punishment, the decision said. It also noted that “a 90-day suspension is among the most serious sanctions we have ever imposed short of removal from office.”

Gundy has been a city judge since 2013. The Supreme Court ruling noted that two serious health issues suffered by Gundy from November 2016 through April 2017 help explain the judge’s absences during that period.

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