The NDSC joins Fayette County, Georgia District Attorney Scott Ballard in his disgust over a recent ruling by Court of Appeals Judge Christopher McFadden. Judge McFadden has granted a new trial for William Jeffrey Dumas, who was found guilty of repeatedly raping a 24 year old woman with Down syndrome.
Judge Christopher McFadden had taken leave of his appellate court duties to preside temporarily as a Superior Court judge in Fayette County. He presided over the trial in October 2012, and originally sentenced Dumas to 25 years in prison, but has now reversed the verdict and ordered a new trial. In this new ruling, McFadden said the evidence presented to the jury was sufficient to sustain the convictions, but he had doubts about the verdict, saying that the woman did not act like a victim. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
, District Attorney Brian Rickman of the Mountain Judicial Circuit, expressed incredulity that McFadden could make such findings. "To say someone didn't behave like a victim just jumps out at me," Rickman said. "I've never seen a pattern of behavior for a victim of sexual assault, even if they don't have Down syndrome. There is no standard set of behaviors. ... There is not always an immediate outcry. Most sexual assaults are underreported."
The District Attorney's Office filed a motion asking McFadden to recuse himself, but McFadden denied the prosecution's motion and said he would remain on the case. Ballard is now appealing that decision to the same appeals court on which McFadden sits.
We are appalled at this judge's ruling, and ask that letters be written to the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission. As advocates, parents and people with Down syndrome, we are asking for review of the judge's qualifications, conduct and fitness to serve as a judge.
Judicial Qualifications Commission
P.O. Box 191
Madison, GA 30650
Phone: (706) 343-5891
Fax: (706) 342-4593
Mr. Robert D. Ingram - Chairman
Attorney - Marietta, Ga.
Mr. S. Lester Tate - Vice-Chairman
Attorney - Cartersville, Ga
Mr. James B. Durham
Attorney - Brunswick, Ga.
Ms. Linda Evans
Civic Leader - Atlanta, GA
Mr. Richard L. Hyde
Judge Patsy Y. Porter
State Court - Fulton County
Judge Brenda S. Weaver
Superior Court - Appalachian Judicial Circuit