AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The Georgia Court of Appeals reversed and remanded Judge Daniel Craig's judgment on a case because they said it was based upon erroneous views of the law and improperly considered matters outside the record.
A local mother, the defendant in the case, is speaking to us on the condition we hide her identity.
"The findings at the end really didn't have to do with what actually took place in the courtroom," the mother said.
She is talking about the way she says Judge Daniel Craig ruled during one of her custody hearings after her divorce.
She said he gave her ex-husband primary physical custody initially, even though her role had always been as a stay-at-home mom.
"Honestly, it was and still is my life passion," the mother said. "It really is."
In his judgment, Craig cited several factors, which he said weighed in the father's favor, including the stability of the parent's support system, health of each parent, employment schedule flexibility, and the willingness of the parent to work with the other.
But the court battles weren't over yet. In 2010, court records show her ex-husband petitioned for sole custody and restriction of her visitation rights. Craig granted that, based on precedence set in a past court case and a Division of Family and Children Services report.
"I didn't know the contents of the DFCS report," the mother explained.
But someone else apparently did. The Court of Appeals said Craig noted he had reviewed the DFCS records and had used information gleaned from that in reaching his verdict. But, it was never entered into evidence nor did anyone from the agency testify, according to the court of appeals ruling. They said Craig erred in considering matters outside the record. The court of appeals also took issue with Craig denying the mother's request for access to it, saying Georgia statute requires she be provided with it when being used in determining the issues before the court.
"Judge Danny Craig misapplied laws, misinterpreted them, used them against me," the mother said.
The DFCS report is not the only thing the Court of Appeals took issue with. Their ruling said Craig relied on an outdated case when making his decision, but the rule set in that case was abolished by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2003. While the 1955 case gave a prima facie right to the custodial parent, the 2003 case threw out that rule and eliminated a requirement of showing change for the worse when deciding custody.
After all she said she's been through, the mom has this final message for Judge Craig:
"Please step down. Step down. Haven't you done enough?"