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DJJ board votes to remove commissioner weeks after 11Alive investigation

The vote comes two weeks after we revealed that the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner lied under oath about having a college degree.

Wednesday morning, board members over Georgia's Department of Juvenile Justice voted to remove Commissioner Avery Niles from his job.

According to a board member, Niles submitted a letter of resignation, but the board voted not to accept it. Gov. Brian Kemp later approved the board's decision to remove Niles, effective immediately.

Avery Niles was not immediately available for comment after the meeting. The Reveal team was the only media outlet at the meeting. The public was given a 48 hour notice about the board's meeting and it was held about an hour away from DJJ's central office at a training facility in Forsyth.

After the meeting, board members declined to offer an explanation. 

“It’s been tough, but we got through it, and I think what we did, is what we should have done,” said Thomas Coleman, a DJJ Board Member.

Two weeks ago, The Reveal investigative team at 11Alive uncovered Niles lied under oath during a recent deposition about his education. The deposition was part of a pending lawsuit against the agency. 

During the March deposition, he admitted that he lied during a previous deposition about having an associates degree in criminal justice. He later admitted that wasn't true. 

Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Niles to head DJJ in 2012. As the commissioner, he was responsible for the detention and rehabilitation of thousands of juveniles in Georgia's criminal justice system. He was also responsible for leading DJJ's school district. 

The Reveal approached four board members after the meeting. Most of them agreed it was a difficult meeting. 

Judge Steven Teske, who is a member of DJJ's judicial advisory council, praised Niles for his work while working at the agency for nearly the past seven years.

A DJJ spokesperson said they will be releasing a statement soon.

This is the latest update in our year-long investigation into the agency involving numerous claims of misconduct. 

GA commissioner admits to lying under oath about having a college degree

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Turning a blind eye? Teen not alone in claims of sexual assault in Georgia youth detention center

Family says officer broke teen's arm over a sandwich 

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