Judge Pleads Guilty To Reckless Driving - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus

Judge Pleads Guilty To Reckless Driving

A Muscogee County judge will have to go through anger management class after his guilty plea Wednesday. Judge Haywood Turner found himself on the other side of the bench---accused of pointing a gun at two drivers on J.R. Allen Parkway last August.

"Guilty your honor" were some of the few words Judge Haywood Turner said during his arraignment Wednesday afternoon.

Turner is accused of pointing a gun at another driver Rick Lumzy, when Lumzy was merging onto J.R. Allen Parkway last August.

But Judge Turner's attorney says the facts are questionable.

"From the judge's perspective, we obviously deny those allegations categorically. We felt like we had a good case of the possibility of self defense, that he though Mr. Lumzy was being more aggressive in his driving, and the judge felt threatened," said Peter Hoffman, Turner's attorney.

Judge Turner was originally charged with two counts of pointing a pistol at another person.

Those charges were reduced to reckless driving, and Turner was sentenced by a fellow judge, rather than a jury.

"Anytime you're having a matter like this you're basically one person's word against another person's word, you're at risk of putting the matter before a jury. You're at their mercy. They could either convict you or acquit you," said Hoffman.

Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington says he's spoken to Judge Turner about what happened, and a guilty plea isn't changing his opinion of the city-appointed judge.

"That's an incident where he said he didn't do it, and the other people said he did, so I have a lot of respect for the judge, and I hope this is the end of it," said Mayor Wetherington.

Judge Turner's sentence includes a thousand dollar fine, 40 hours of community service, and he must go through an anger management program.

He was also sentenced to one year of probation, and he will be able to remain on the bench.

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