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Second Habersham County judge resigns
Perdue appoints replacements for Cornwell, Woods
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For the second time in four months, a Habersham County Superior Court judge has abruptly resigned.

Jim Cornwell, the chief judge for the Mountain Judicial Circuit, submitted his resignation to Gov. Sonny Perdue on Friday.

Cornwell's resignation, which is effective May 15, follows the late December resignation of Ernest "Bucky" Woods. Woods and Cornwell were the only two superior court judges in the circuit, which includes Habersham, Stephens and Rabun counties.

Perdue on Friday named replacements for both judges. He was already set to name a replacement for Woods and had interviewed three finalists. Cornwell's replacement was also among those finalists.

Toccoa commercial attorney Russell W. "Rusty" Smith will replace Woods, and Habersham County State Court Judge Linton K. "Kim" Crawford will replace Cornwell, the governor's office announced.

Cornwell did not return a phone message from The Times seeking comment.

In his letter to the governor, Cornwell said he had "greatly enjoyed my time on the bench, but admittedly have grown weary of making life-changing decisions concerning other people's lives."

"I look forward to resuming the private practice of law," Cornwell wrote.

Perdue's letter accepting Cornwell's resignation was copied to Cheryl Custer, the executive director of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which investigates allegations of judicial misconduct.

The commission's office was closed late Friday afternoon and Custer was unavailable for comment.

Steven Ferrell, the court administrator for the Ninth Judicial Administrative District, said he had not spoken with Cornwell Friday and did not know his reasons for resigning. Ferrell allowed that the resignation "was sudden."

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