Many in Columbia County were thrilled back in September when Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Mike Annis of Evans to fill a vacancy on the Augusta Judicial Circuit bench.
With Jim Blanchard and Duncan Wheale, Annis' appointment put three Columbia County judges on the eight-judge panel (nine, if you count retired Senior Judge Bernard Mulherin). All three, supporters believe, could be counted on to make tough, common-sense decisions.
It's early in his career as a judge, but Annis has already proved he can be a tough customer in the robes. Just ask 23-year-old John Williams of Augusta.
Williams, who was well on his way to making a career of petty crime - trespass, misdemeanor domestic violence, drug possession - stepped over the line and into Judge Annis court recently on a burglary charge.
As reported by writer Sandy Hodson, Williams broke into an Augusta womans apartment in the early morning hours Aug. 9, took off his clothes and slipped into her bed. He tried to rape me, the victim told Annis. Williams attorney said his client was drunk, and was simply too forward in putting moves on the victim. Besides, Williams left when she said no.
Judge Annis wasn't buying it. He sent Williams to the slammer for 10 years, and tacked on another 11 years of probation. "You've taken a lifetime of (the victim) ever feeling safe in her own home," Annis told a "sputtering" and surprised Williams. Once released, Williams also will have to register as a sex offender.
Way to go, Judge! Our community would be much safer if potential lawbreakers could be assured such swift and sure justice awaits. If this sentence is any sign of things to come in Judge Annis court, career criminals should quickly get the message to pick another profession.
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