Disgraced former judge and current lawmaker Johnnie Caldwell is pushing a bill that would silence thousands of African American voters. Better Georgia and a coalition of progressive groups fighting against Caldwell’s map rigging bill believe the legislation is likely illegal.
As egregious as it is for a lawmaker to try to stand in the way of Georgians’ voting rights, we’re not surprised, considering that the source is Johnnie Caldwell. Amongst other things, Caldwell is an accused sexual predator who has never faced consequences for his vile actions. Whenever there is a legal barrier between him and what he wants, he ignores it or gets rid of it.
Just last year he got rid of the watchdog group that gets crooked judges off the bench — the same watchdog group that investigated him and called for his resignation because of the sexual harassment charges against him.
Now, Caldwell’s map rigging bill (HB 515) has passed through the Georgia House and, among other changes, the bill would move thousands of minority voters out of vulnerable Republican districts and replace them with white voters.
This would only be the most recent event in the string of ruined lives Johnnie Caldwell’s career leaves in its wake. He stepped down from his position as judge after attorney Susan Brown testified under oath that Caldwell had harassed and assaulted her. “He leaned in to give me a hug and crammed his tongue in my mouth,” the victim said in the record, according to an 11 Alive report. He would “tell me to wear my pants a little tighter in court,” she said, adding ““If I wanted an order signed in my favor…I needed to come to his office…and take down my pants and at least let him look at it if I wasn’t going to let him touch it.”
While a judge, Johnnie Caldwell also put Nick Souder, an African American man with a sixth-grade education and no lawyer, behind bars for 6 years. Souder’s public defender had died while Souder was in jail. He was not assigned a new attorney and was forced to try to represent himself. Caldwell reportedly told Souder in a closed-door conversation that if he tried to fight this on his own, he’d serve 45 years.
The testimony shows clearly that Souder was not going to get a fair trial in Caldwell’s court room:
Johnnie Caldwell is an accused sexual predator who stepped down amidst charges, but then became a state lawmaker.
He has used his positions of power to exploit women and imprison people for years without a fair trial. And now he’s trying to continue his sordid legacy by redrawing maps to silence African American voters and keep more people like him in power.
Caldwell’s map rigging bill will move forward unless we stop it.
Text GAMAPS to 30644 for the latest bill updates and ways you can take action.