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3 get judge, commissioner discipline case

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Disciplinary actions against a Marion County judge and his commissioner have been consolidated into one case and the Indiana Supreme Court has assigned three special judges to the proceedings.

In an order dated June 18, the court consolidated the cases against Judge Grant W. Hawkins and Master Commissioner Nancy Broyles, who've both been on Marion Superior Court's Criminal Division 5 since January 2001.

Delaware Circuit Judge Marianne L. Vorhees has been named presiding master, while Lake Superior Judge Clarence D. Murray and Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker will also hear and take evidence on the charges.

The Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission filed nearly a dozen charges against each on April 9, alleging delay and dereliction of duties relating to the handling of cases.

Mostly, the 11 counts against Judge Hawkins and 10 against Commissioner Broyles deal with their involvement in a post-conviction case that resulted in an Indianapolis man being held in prison for almost two years after DNA evidence cleared him of a 1984 rape.

The charges allege that Judge Hawkins did not adequately supervise his staff and commissioner, committed conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and did not uphold the integrity and public confidence of the judiciary by allowing delays.

Charges are similar against Commissioner Broyles, but reveal that her conduct may have delayed at least seven other post-conviction proceedings between sixth months and 28 months, and some were backdated once they were ultimately decided. The investigation shows that the part-time commissioner routinely issued final orders in post-conviction cases without obtaining Judge Hawkins' approval and signature, contrary to Indiana Codes 33-33-49-16 and 33-23-5-8.

Now, the two cases have been consolidated into No. 49S00-0804-JD-157. The masters are directed to submit a schedule within 30 days of the order and a report is expected during the first week of November.

Indiana Lawyer reported on the disciplinary actions in the April 16-29, 2008, edition, "Judge, commissioner both face charges."

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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