Judge Christopher McFadden, Court of Appeals of Georgia, has ordered a new trial in a rape case in which a man, William Jeffrey Dumas, had been convicted of repeatedly raping a woman with Down syndrome and sentenced to 25 years.
Judge McFadden, who was presiding over the case in Fayette County, overturned the jury's guilty verdicts against Dumas, claiming a new trial was necessary because the victim had waited a day before reporting the rape and because she did not 'behave like a rape victim.'
Judge McFadden further stated that the perpetrator Dumas, who was convicted of repeatedly raping the woman in 2010, did not “behave like someone who had recently perpetrated a series of violent crimes.” He has ruled that the convictions "do not have the approval of the court's mind and conscience."
District Attorney Scott Ballard has motioned for Judge McFadden to recuse himself from the case, but McFadden denied the motion on Feb 5. Ballard is now appealing that decision to the same appeals court on which McFadden sits. This is an unacceptable situation if justice is to be served.
By placing more importance in a victim's conformity with his personal, unrealistic idea of how a rape victim should behave than in the evidence, and by furthermore expecting a violent criminal to be clearly discernable as such while not currently engaged in acts of violence, McFadden has revealed a dangerous level of ignorance and bias.
The perpetrator Dumas' semen was found on the victim's bed, and a medical examination showed injuries consistent with rape. Judge McFadden has shown himself to be so strongly biased in favor of a rightfully convicted rapist that we urge the Judicial Qualifications Commission of the State of Georgia to remove him from office without delay.
Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Christopher McFadden has resigned his temporary appointment to serve as a Griffin Court trial judge following his controversial decisions overturning a guilty verdict in a rape case and then not to recuse himself from presiding over a new trial."
Agencies investigating judge's appointment in this case
"The District Attorney’s Office has since launched an investigation into whether proper protocols were followed when McFadden was appointed to the case, Ballard said. The Judicial Qualifications Commission, which oversees judicial conduct, is also investigating the matter, he said."
In a joint open letter, the National Down Syndrome Society and the National Down Syndrome Congress wrote that they urge the Judicial Qualifications Comission to remove Judge McFadden from office and expressed support for this petition. Read the NDSS/NDSC letter.
The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta is asking members of the public to write letters to the Judicial Qualifications Commission to demand that Judge McFadden's qualifications, conduct and fitness to serve as a judge are reviewed. Read the DSAA action alert.
The International Down Syndrome Coalition has published a statement saying they also urge the Judicial Qualifications Commission of Georgia to remove Judge McFadden from office. Read the IDSC statement.
Judge McFadden's order on the motion for a new trial: