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Judicial nominee charged with family violence battery

Police arrest lawyer after he allegedly struck wife

POSTED: July 13, 2008 5:01 a.m.
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Benjamin Lanier Bagwell

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A Gainesville lawyer who was nominated for a state court judgeship to be appointed by the governor has a misdemeanor domestic violence case pending in state court.

Benjamin Lanier Bagwell, 41, was arrested by police June 27 on a charge of family violence battery for allegedly striking his wife, Kristin Bagwell, in an apartment in downtown Gainesville, according to court records.

Benjamin Bagwell, who runs a law office out of the Jackson Building on Washington Street, was one of six local attorneys whose names were submitted to the state Judicial Nominating Commission for a third Hall County State Court judgeship that will be appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue. Submissions could be made by members of the local bar or private citizens. Bagwell was nominated by Kristin Bagwell and Martha McGee, officials with the commission said.

Bagwell has not withdrawn his name from consideration for the job since his arrest, according to the commission.

He did not return a pair of phone messages left Tuesday and Wednesday seeking comment.

According to court records and records provided by the Hall County 911 Center, Kristin Bagwell called 911 shortly before 6 p.m. on June 27 to report that her husband "beat her up," "punched her in the face" and "grabbed her hair."

Police said in arrest warrants that Kristin Bagwell had a "busted lip, a bite mark on her arm and several red scratch marks about her neck and back."

In a police mug shot taken the day of his arrest, Benjamin Bagwell also has a scratch mark on his forehead.

Gainesville Police Department spokesman Lt. Brian Kelly said no charges against Kristin Bagwell were anticipated.

Kelly said when police responded to the Jackson Building for the 911 call, Benjamin Bagwell was already gone. He was located in his car at a nearby Chevron station and agreed to come to police headquarters for questioning, Kelly said. Bagwell was arrested a short time later after police conducted separate interviews with the husband and wife, Kelly said.

Bagwell later made a conditional bond. It could not be determined through court records if he has hired an attorney.

Applications to the Judicial Nominating Commission are due Monday for any nominees who intend to interview with the panel on July 21. The commission will then submit a short list to Gov. Sonny Perdue, who will conduct additional interviews and make the appointment.

Larry Baldwin, Tom Csider, William "Sonny" Sykes, Ann Schuler and William Brownell Jr. are the five other people who were nominated for the judgeship. Another nominee, Walter J. Rucker, withdrew his name from consideration.

Only Baldwin’s application had been received by the commission as of Wednesday, officials said.



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