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JQC: Strike Judge Brown’s apology, support from Sullivan in discipline case

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Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown’s last-minute apology and vouching from former Indiana Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. should not be considered in her disciplinary case, the Judicial Qualifications Commission argued in a brief filed Thursday.

The JQC argues Brown’s submission to discipline in lieu of findings and Sullivan’s affidavit filed in support should be stricken as untimely and outside the record of her 47-count disciplinary case heard last month by a panel of special masters appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court.

“Many assertions in (Brown’s) affidavit (and Justice Sullivan’s affidavit) were known to (Brown) prior to the evidentiary hearing but not submitted to the Masters,” the commission argued in its response to Brown’s latest filing. “Further, a number of (Brown’s) assertions are in direct conflict with the evidence presented at the hearing,” the JQC’s filing says.

Brown’s contrition isn’t a meaningful acceptance of responsibility, and she has continued to delay rulings, according to the JQC filing. “The Commission submits (Brown’s) latest filing simply is too little, too late.”

The JQC is urging the special masters to recommend the Indiana Supreme Court remove Brown from the bench. Justices ordered the case move on an expedited schedule and asked the masters to file a report by Dec. 30. Brown suggests the masters recommend a 60-day suspension from the bench.

Brown’s 47-count disciplinary hearing before a panel of three special masters is believed to be the longest and most extensive against a judge in the JQC’s history. She is accused of delayed releases of at least nine defendants from the Marion County Jail – in one case for 22 days. She is also accused of a host of rule violations, including failing to properly oversee her court, improperly supervising trials, failing to act on Court of Appeals orders, showing hostility toward parties who came before her, and retaliating against court staff who complained, among other things.

At her hearing, Brown was represented by attorney Aaron Haith of Choate & Haith who attempted to portray the judge as singled out for problems he argued were endemic in the Marion Superior courts.

Before the proceedings, justices alerted counsel that parties should not request continuances or extensions except in emergencies or under extraordinary circumstances. On Nov. 25, Haith requested an extension of time to file proposed findings after the hearing, according to the case docket, which also shows the masters granted his request Dec. 2, extending the deadline to noon that same day. Proposed findings were not filed.

Subsequently, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP partner Karl Mulvaney appeared on Brown’s behalf and filed the submission to discipline in lieu of findings that also contained Sullivan’s affidavit, after which Haith withdrew. The brief Mulvaney filed, and which the commission now objects to, argues elements of Brown’s defense were “ill-advised.”

Sullivan’s affidavit supplemented Brown’s latest filing. He wrote that he was disappointed and saddened by the charges. “I believe the events surrounding the charges against Judge Brown are the result of a series of unfortunate events and circumstances,” he said, noting he talked with Brown and counseled her on the need for professionalism and civility. “She advises that she has taken the charges in this regard to heart and that the investigation in this case … caused her to become a better judge.”

But the commission in response says that’s not so, and that Brown’s filing is neither a set of proposed findings nor timely filed for the masters to consider.

“These affidavits also put the Commission at a disadvantage, as the Commission has not been given an opportunity to cross-examine (Brown) or former Justice Sullivan on the new matters (Brown) offers.”

The commission brief says Brown “asserts that she ‘has maintained a work schedule where she is usually in the office by 8 a.m. and usually stays until after 5 p.m. to work on her cases’ … and former Justice Sullivan offers a personal and professional character reference.

“The Commission certainly would have cross-examined both witnesses on these matters and confronted them with evidence which discredits these assertions,” the JQC filing says.

At Brown’s hearing, the commission set the tone, opening by admitting into evidence video from her deposition in which the judge defiantly refuses to take an oath, claiming that because she is a judge, she is bound to the truth. The commission brief says such behavior doesn’t instill public confidence.

Brown’s “conduct, demeanor, and tactics during the investigation and proceedings simply do little to assure the citizens of this State that she, indeed, will do better going forward,” the JQC brief says.


 

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  • KUDOS
    Kudos to Judicial Qualifications Commission attorneys Meiring and Carusillo for a very well written and well argued brief. (link above, do read it to understand this case) I was the subject of a 31 page brief from judicial enforcers that cited not one legal precedent, it is great to see that attorneys working for the Ind S.Ct. can actually brief in a professional and lawyerlike manner. The evidence to remove Judge Kimberly Brown is overwhelming .... but who in the bar would want to litigate against her given the tactics demonstrated and documented? Will she remain an attorney after riding so very roughshod over the very system that attorneys are called to uphold? Very scary that her conduct has been going on for years in Marion County, seemingly with little as to review, and that she was evidently disciplined for similar conduct while in small claims court years ago, but was still promoted and not put on probation. How sad for Indiana that political connections and political correctness seems to have driven the judiciary for the past decades, and that too many times the disciplinary power is either not used (Conour) or used for all the wrong reasons (Ogden). And then there is my five year bar from the Ind bar, while yet in good standing in Kansas (I still am) and fully admitted to the Ind federal courts even after the IBLE slammed me to the ground for my religious views. Much to be fixed in Indiana, but this story does give much hope that the new IND S.Ct. wants to see the problems fixed, even while the old system fights for the likes of Kimberly Brown. (An affidavit from a former S.Ct. justice that the Commission stands prepared to shred in cross examination ... how sad for Indiana) How telling too!

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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