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Shared names make trouble

Posted: May 6, 2014 - 11:07pm  |  Updated: May 7, 2014 - 2:31pm

When Columbia County Magistrate Judge Douglas G. Nelson abruptly resigned Thursday, there was at least one local person who was unhappy to hear about it.

Coincidentally, his name also is Doug Nelson. That would be the Augusta attorney, Douglas M. Nelson, who has never been a magistrate judge and has not been accused by several women of improper conduct as a court-appointed guardian ad litem.

As soon as the news of the judge’s troubles began being reported on local media outlets, Doug M. Nelson, began getting phone calls and e-mails about the situation from people who assumed he was the man everyone was talking about.

“If you look him up in the phone book, you don’t find him—you find me. I’m the only lawyer named Doug Nelson around here, so people just automatically assume it’s me,” Nelson told the Fulton County Daily Report.

Aside from the middle initial, and the fact that they are two completely different people, there is one other major difference between the two men: Doug M. Nelson,who lives in Washington, Ga., is a lawyer; Doug G. Nelson, of Evans, is not. But it is something the attorney said people have naturally assumed about the former judge, since he was, well, a judge.

But in the great state of Georgia, it isn’t necessary to be a member of the bar to be a magistrate judge, only to possess a high school diploma.

For Doug M. Nelson’s sake, I hope that is clear enough.






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