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February 9--  A Vidalia attorney agreed to retire from his law practice at a meeting Friday with court officers of the Middle Judicial Circuit.

Eighty-two-year old Duston Tapley, Jr. agreed to a consent order stating he will no longer practice law in the Middle Judicial Circuit.  The meeting occurred at the Toombs Courthouse with Chief Circuit Court Judge Kathy Palmer and District Attorney Hayward Altman.  It followed a calendar call for the court where Tapley was representing a client on drug charges.

Tapley drew the ire of a judge in Richmond County earlier this week when he asked to be taken off a child molestation case after a jury had been selected and just before testimony was to begin.  He told Judge Daniel Craig he did not feel competent to defend the accused.

Officials said he also withdrew from a murder case in Wheeler County last week.


Letter From The Tapley Family

Response to Judge Daniel Craig’s attack on Attorney Duston Tapley Jr. (See Augusta Chronicle article below)

Attorney Duston Taplye , Jr., was hired to defend this case in April 2015. Tapley notified the
DA’s office by letter dated May 20, 2015 which is in court records, that the Defense was ready to
try the case. Judge Craig and DA’s office must be very busy because the case has just now come
up for trial in February 2018. I think its inefficiency of our legal process and lack of respect of
the tax payers money by continuing this case for this long and a violation of Defendant’s civil
rights for a speedy trial.

Attorney Tapley has been finishing up cases in order to retire and this case is one of the few he
has to deal with in order to close his law practice.

Court records will show that the following is 100% accurate and true so feel free to get a copy or
just interview the jurors and let them tell the story too.

Yesterday in Augusta in the court room Judge Craig verbally attacked an elderly 82 year 7 month
old Attorney Tapley that was trying to protect our Constitution and the courts rules. Attorney
Tapley filed an order to be released from the trial because he didn’t feel like he could represent
his client in a trial. Attorney Tapley did the most difficult thing to do and told the truth.
Attorney told the court, “after careful consideration of my age, physical ability, and mental
capacity, I can’t try this case.” Judge Craig made Attorney Tapley drive back to Augusta
Courthouse in order to abuse elderly Tapley for almost 2 hours and even brought the jury in to
court room to abuse elderly Tapley further in open court with a court reporter.

Judge Craig said Attorney Tapley lied about his age. Tapley told Judge Craig in a private
conversation off the record he was 83 instead of 82 years and 7 months. Judge Craig new this
was grounds to release Tapley in itself. There was no lie here just an 82 year old man that told
the Judge he was 83, which he will be 83 in June, 2018. I plan to ask Judge Craig how he is
doing when he is 82 and get his answer.

Fact of matter, the only person who should be mad in this case is Attorney Tapley’s client and
not Judge Craig. The client is relieved that Tapley honorably stood up and told the truth. “I just
can’t give you the best in this trial and recommend that you seek other representation..” I guess
Judge Craig doesn’t care about the accused getting a fair and impartial trial.

The real and true scenario: Judge Craig attacked an 82 year old man accusing him of lying about
representing clients and his age. This is what the Judicial system has come to and it is the same
scenario as your grandmother or grandfather being NEGLECTED in a nursing home. It is the
exact same thing as a nursing home worker slapping a helpless elderly resident. The same as not
feeding or taking care of the elderly who is trying to live their life and die with pride. Judge
Craig took this from Attorney Tapley yesterday who tried to follow the rules of the court.

A couple of questions to consider:

1. By Judge Craig attacking an 82 year old elderly man for being honorable and accepting
responsibility, did it make Judge Craig feel powerful by conquering the soul of an elderly man?

2. After Judge Craig attacked an 82 year old elderly man in open court with the jury present
(wasting tax payers money and the juries time), why did he call the Augusta Chronicle to further
humiliate Tapley?
What can be gleamed from this is how incompetent our court system is and becoming worse.
Judge Craig is not a problem solver and he is into drama and loves to hear himself proclamate.
For abusing the elderly, Judge Craig doesn’t deserve a drivers license much less a license to
practice law.

CONGRATULATIONS Judge Daniel Craig, this will probably be what you will be remembered
for ever. The Judge who attacked and 82 year old man who told the truth about his current
condition and accused an 82 year old man of lying about practicing law for 43 years instead of
41. Most smart people in politics are smart enough not to call the media and simply stand clear
but what you did is unforgettable. I bet your parents would be proud of you right now.
This was written for the Tapley Family of Attorney Duston Tapley, Jr. Attorney Duston Tapley,
Jr. didn’t even want to comment he is so disgusted with his career this way being personally
attacked by the system he practiced in for more than 41 years. Whoops, Judge Craig, I caught
myself I meant more than 40 years.


February 8--  A Richmond County Superior Court Judge rebuked a Vidalia attorney Wednesday just before testimony was to begin in a child molestation case jury trial.

According to reports in The Augusta Chronicle, Duston Tapley, Jr. of Vidalia told Judge Daniel Craig he did not feel competent to defend 54-year-old Kenneth Lawrence who is facing five counts of sexual assault against a child during a five-year period starting in 2009.  Lawrence has been represented by Tapley since he was indicted in April, 2015.

Judge Craig granted Tapley's request to withdraw from the case, but not before saying what Tapley was doing was "unforgivable" and the "worst kind of abandonment of a client this judge has ever seen."  He also questioned Tapley's competence to handle other criminal cases.

A link to the newspaper story is at Judge Rebukes Vidalia Attorney

Attempts to reach Tapley by phone for his comments on this story have been unsuccessful.