Lake Park holding emergency meeting over judgeship

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LAKE PARK — Lake Park City Council has called an emergency meeting for Thursday to discuss finding a new municipal court judge — a move the current judge says is financially motivated.

The city clerk's office sent out a statement Wednesday that the meeting will be held 6 p.m. The clerk's office also confirmed that discussing a change of judges is the reason for the meeting.

The current municipal court judge, Carlos Rodgers, says council wants him out because he is too lenient on fines.

"If someone comes in with a ticket for 'no insurance,' which is a $600 fine, but has proof he's corrected the problem, I'll cut it in half," he said. "All the classes judges take tell us not to be hard on fines."

Rodgers blamed the decision to change judges on new councilmen "who are all about the money."

"I am not a revenue judge," he said,

Rodgers said City Council sent him a letter saying he could speak in his defense at a Sept. 10 meeting, but didn't find out the special meeting had been moved to Sept. 5 until the police chief called him and told him the decision had been made Sept. 3.

Rodgers also serves as the probate/magistrate judge of Echols County.

Lake Park Mayor Keith Sandlin could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.

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