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Justices reprimand Allen Circuit judge

March 11, 2009

The Indiana Supreme Court today publicly reprimanded Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts, who last summer was arrested for and later pleaded guilty to drunk driving.

Finding that Judge Felts violated two judicial canons by his conduct but cooperated with the disciplinary investigation, a unanimous court agreed a public reprimand was an appropriate sanction. This ends the disciplinary action, In the Matter of the Hon. Thomas J. Felts, No. 02S00-0901-JD-26.

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed formal charges against the judge in January, accusing him violating Canons 1A and 2A of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which require judges to uphold the integrity of the judiciary and avoid impropriety at all times.

Judge Felts was arrested in July following a traffic stop in Indianapolis, and tests later showed his blood alcohol content was 0.19. Judge Felts pleaded guilty in August to a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He was sentenced to a 90-day license suspension, one year of probation, alcohol treatment, attendance at an Advocates Against Impaired Driving panel, and $705 in legal costs.

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