Vines was charged with unlawful possession of ballots, a felony, and election fraud charges relating to the 2006 race for the State Court judge position.
Click here to see court documents from Vines case
He was tried on the charges in March and Judge G. Carey Nelson declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict. A new trial had been scheduled for June.
“Carlton Vines’ resignation is a victory for Georgia’s election laws and Chattooga County voters,” Secretary of State Karen Handel said. “Voter fraud undermines the integrity of our elections processes and the public’s trust, and will not be tolerated.”
Vines resigned his position as State Court Judge effective May 1 and agreed to not seek, request or accept an elected or appointed judicial office in the future as a part of the agreement.
Defense Attorney Rex Abernathy said the Secretary of State’s investigation was selective and from the beginning Vines was unfairly targeted.
“The charges were all about politics from the start,” Abernathy said. “This certainly proves it — they wanted a judgeship from the beginning and now they got it.”
Vines was suspended from the judge post in April 2008 after pleading guilty to a DUI charge and Juvenile Court Judge Jerry Westerbrook took the position as interim judge.
In February 2009, Gov. Sonny Perdue swore in Samuel C. Finster, Vines’ opponent in the 2006 election, as interim Chattooga County State Court judge.
Finster said it is his understanding the appointment will stand until the term expires in 2010.
“I’m going to travel under the assumption that the appointment the governor made on Feb. 19 will be held until the expiration of Vines’ term,” Finster said.
The governor’s office did not return a phone call Friday.
Finster said he intends to use the opportunity to expand on the current State Court judge office and begin a drug court in Chattooga County.