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Morrow City Council to reappoint controversial municipal judge

Ronald Freeman

Ronald Freeman

— The Morrow City Council will vote on whether to reappoint a municipal court judge who has been accused of unlawfully charging fines to drivers who appear in his court even though he reduced their charges to warnings.

Municipal Court Judge Ronald Freeman and Municipal Court Solicitor Jerry Patrick will be up for annual re-appointment by the city council at its first meeting of the year Tuesday. The council will also vote to name Councilman Larry Ferguson as Morrow’s mayor pro tem for 2013 at the meeting.

The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Morrow City Hall which is located at 1500 Morrow Road. A pre-meeting work session will begin at 6:30 p.m.

A civil lawsuit against Morrow is pending in Clayton County Superior Court over the way Freeman has run Morrow’s municipal court. Attorneys for Stockbridge resident Daniel Brackett allege Freeman has illegally ordered defendants appearing before him in court to pay more than $1 million in “court costs” after reducing their traffic citations to “warnings.”

The attorneys argue state law prohibits Freeman from making people pay those “court costs” because they have not been found guilty of any crime.