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Affair Between Judge, Public Defender Leads to 5 Retrials

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By William Peacock, Esq. on November 12, 2013 12:20 PM

Just south of Hotlanta, things are getting messy in Georgia.

In late 2008, a deputy's patrol car caught assistant public defender Kim Cornwell in the steamy embraces of local Judge Paschal English, known more widely as the fourth-place finisher on "Survivor: Marquesas." The pair were recorded by the cruiser's camera, allegedly engaging in a sexual act in the back of a car.

Obviously, this created a few issues, not the least of which were the hundreds of cases that she'd handled in Judge English's courtroom over the preceding few years. Now, some of those cases, involving serious offenses, will be headed back to the courtroom.

Revelations and Retrials

In 2010, the local district attorney came forward with the allegations, but the video was gone and no charges were filed. An investigator looked into the matter but concluded, "I do not find any evidence that any instances where the state or defendant were harmed by actions of the court ever took place in Judge English's courtroom at all, much less when Kim Cornwell was the attorney for the defendant," reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

However, three years later, five of those defendants are set to receive new trials because of the judge's compromised impartiality. And the alleged crimes are serious.

According to the AJC, Christopher Wakefield and Travion Willis will face a retrial on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault and other crimes; William Nutt will face trial for aggravated child molestation and aggravated sexual battery; Rashad Arnold for burglary; and Calvin Boynton will get another day in court for armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a sawed-off shotgun and drug possession.

And, of course, one wonders how easy it will be to successfully prosecute these offenders years after their original trials.

Where Are the Paramours Now?

Pardon the pun, but neither Judge English nor Cornwell's careers in public service survived the scandal. Shortly after the allegations broke, Judge English resigned -- though for unrelated reasons, reports the Journal-Constitution. (A female attorney previously told English that she was being harassed with crude comments by fellow Judge Johnnie Caldwell. Judge Caldwell resigned on April 19, 2010, with English following his lead four days later.)

As for Cornwell, according to her LinkedIn profile, she is still practicing criminal defense, though she seems to have ventured into private practice.

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