McDuffie County's Chief Magistrate Judge received a public reprimand Tuesday morning for a DUI stemming from an accident that took place on April 27 of last year.
Judge Robert Cofer received the reprimand from Superior Court Judge Roger Dunaway on behalf of the Judicial Qualifications Commission in front of a courtroom full of potential jurors at 9:30 a.m.
The reprimand stems from an incident in which Judge Cofer ran a stop sign in his 2000 Buick LeSabre at the intersection of Cobbham and Stagecoach roads and was struck by Thomson resident Bonnie Brooks' 2000 Plymouth van.
Though her injuries were not serious, Ms. Brooks was taken to Medical College of Georgia for treatment. Both cars were totaled in the accident.
"Your act of driving under the influence resulting in an accident with injuries to another driver is not acceptable," Judge Dunaway said in the statement.
At the time of the accident, Trooper Mark Cabe of the Georgia State Patrol's Thomson Post said he "could smell the alcohol" on the Chief Magistrate who has served for more than 12 years in McDuffie County. He posted bond and returned to work the day following the accident.
The public reprimand stated that Judge Cofer's blood alcohol level of 0.134 - which is in excess of the 0.08 legal limit - was unbecoming of someone expected to observe, uphold and enforce the law.
Judge Dunaway also stated that Judge Cofer's actions were "self indulgent" and "careless" and that repetition of those actions would result in severe consequences. Judge Cofer was given a copy of the reprimand and excused from the courtroom just prior to 9:40 a.m.