Third ‘special master’ named in Bar’s case against Ralston

Perhaps the third time’s the charm after all?

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday named Jonathan Peters as the “special master” to oversee the State Bar of Georgia’s complaint against House Speaker David Ralston, after the first two resigned.

Jonathan Peters is a veteran Atlanta attorney, former public defender, prosecutor and Superior Court judge. He replaces retired DeKalb County Judge Robert Castellani and Hiawassee attorney Mark Dehler, both of whom stepped down after one side or the other called for their recusal.

Dehler resigned in July after attorneys for the State Bar said they would call for his recusal.

Ralston’s attorney, former Gov. Roy Barnes, said the Bar questioned Dehler’s impartiality after he was named to head the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which has its budget set by the Legislature. Bar general counsel Paula Frederick, however, said they were concerned after Dehler made public comments about the case.

Castellani, who still serves as a judge on limited occasions, replaced Dehler but resigned shortly after being named. Barnes filed a motion calling for Castellani to step aside, arguing that the Legislature also funds judges’ pay and pensions.

Read several of the motions filed by both sides here.

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