The Capitol Beat News Service reports that the Georgia Supreme Court Wednesday removed suspended Judge Christian Coomer from the state Court of Appeals.
In a unanimous decision, the justices upheld the recommendation of a state Judicial Qualifications Commission (or JQC) hearing panel, which found Coomer’s misuse of campaign funds and dealings with a client before he became a judge undermined public confidence.
Coomer, a Republican and former state legislator from Bartow County, was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2018 and elected to a full six-year term in 2020. Later that year, the JQC charged him with violating the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct, and he was suspended from the bench with pay in January 2021, pending the outcome of the case.
The charges against Coomer stemmed from his relationship with James Filhart, an elderly client he began representing in 2015.
Coomer drafted a will for Filhart that named Coomer and his heirs among the beneficiaries and himself as executor and trustee.
The ruling stated that Coomer also accepted several loans from Filhart.
Coomer also was accused of transferring campaign funds to his law firm’s operating account and, in two instances, failing to report the transfers on his campaign contributions disclosure report. A third instance involved a trip to Hawaii before Coomer left the General Assembly that he said was for legislative business but ultimately was found to have been for leisure, according to the ruling.
Coomer reimbursed his campaign account for expenses from the trip after the state Campaign Finance Commission began investigating him.
Wednesday’s ruling prohibits Coomer from being elected or appointed to any judicial office for seven years.