(ATLANTA, GA, 7/24/18) - The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) today filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the Georgia Court of Appeals in support of the McLendon Law Firm's request that the Court overturn the ruling of a Sandy Springs judge who attacked an Iranian-American nursing student's heritage as she sentenced him to jail.
"Bigotry has no place in our state, much less our courts of law," said attorney Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia. "The City of Sandy Springs still has time to do the right thing by agreeing to reverse this unjust ruling. If the city refuses to do so, the Court of Appeals should intervene."
After overseeing a 2017 bench trial in which Azizan's Iranian heritage was mentioned at least six times, Municipal Court Judge Sharon Dickson found him guilty of Disorderly Conduct and sentenced him to five months imprisonment.
While issuing her ruling, Judge Dickson made numerous overly hostile, biased and bigoted remarks, including:
- “You’re not talking now. You don’t get to talk. It’s my turn. Okay? But I know where you come from, women don’t mean anything. Okay? But that’s not how it works here. Okay? You can look up or you don’t have to. It’s up to you. I mean, I’m just a woman. I’m only a woman who is wearing a robe today. Doesn’t really matter. I get this. This is who you are.”
- “So when you live in a free society, you have a responsibility. You don’t just have freedom.”
- “You need to go to jail. You are despicable to me.”
- “This is shameful. You are a small person on the inside, Mr. Azizan. You have no regard for anyone else.”
"The derogatory statements Judge Dickson made to Mr. Azizan regarding his national origin were outrageous and unacceptable," said attorney Jason McLendon, who represents Mr. Azizan.
Azizan represented himself during his bench trial. The McLendon Law Firm is handling his ongoing appeal.
In a ruling last month, the Fulton County Superior Court described Judge Dickson's anti-Iranian remarks as "objectionable" and "wholly inappropriate," but upheld her ruling because she made the remarks during sentencing, as opposed to during the trial.
The McLendon Law Firm has responded by asking the Court of Appeals to allow an appeal of the Fulton County Superior Court ruling. CAIR Georgia's amicus brief was filed in support of that request.
CAIR Georgia also sent a letter to City of Sandy Springs Attorney Dan Lee on June 27th calling on him to reach an agreement with the McLendon Firm.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.