Former Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Jim Oxendine
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- A Superior Court judge in Gwinnett County abruptly cleaned out his office last week and left the bench -- Jim Oxendine, father of Insurance Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine.
The judge signed papers for a land deal that is now under investigation.
Since 1992, Jim Oxendine worked as a Superior Court judge in the Gwinnett County Courthouse.
Last week, according to one Gwinnett County official, "The (other Superior) Court judges informed him that they would not utilize his services as a senior judge any longer."
Three additional Gwinnett County court officials confirmed that for 11Alive News, but did not want their names used. Oxendine vacated his office Friday, according to Court Administrator Philip Boudewyns -- but he would not say why.
The Gwinnett District Attorney's office provided 11Alive News public records with Judge Oxendine's signature. It appears several times in a real estate transaction that is now under investigation by the DA. The land, near Lawrenceville, was sold to Gwinnett County. The DA is asking a grand jury to investigate whether the county illegally used tax dollars to purchase this and other parcels from well connected landowners.
Jim Oxendine is listed on the paperwork as the power of attorney for the seller of the land near Lawrenceville. His secretary's signature appears as the notary public -- and Oxendine gives his address as the Gwinnett County Courthouse.
Porter says the signatures show the judge was practicing law on the side.
"A full time judge cannot practice law, period," said Jim Elliott, associated dean at Emory Law School.
Elliott says a judge who practices law on the side can be removed from office.
Judge Oxendine lives in Duluth, where 11Alive's Doug Richards tried to reach him Tuesday afternoon.
A woman identifying herself as his wife said the judge was out.
Richards called Judge Oxendine again Tuesday evening to ask about his abrupt departure from the bench. Oxendine himself answered the phone.
"I don't have anything to say to you sir," he said after Richards identified himself as a reporter with 11Alive News.
The judge then hung up the telephone.