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Judge suspended for 60 days, no pay

March 11, 2009

The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended Marion Superior Judge Grant W. Hawkins from the bench for 60 days without pay, though two justices wanted a yearlong penalty while two others wanted a month suspension.

An order came just before 5 p.m. Wednesday in In the matter of the Hon. Grant. W. Hawkins,  No. 49S00-0804-JD-157, ending the almost yearlong disciplinary action that came to light because a wrongfully convicted man sat in prison for nearly two years after DNA evidence cleared him of a rape.

Starting Thursday, the judge who's been presiding over Criminal Division 5 since Janaury 2001 begins his 60-day suspension. He's been temporarily suspended since Nov. 25, but has been earning his state-set $125,647 annual salary.

A three-judge panel and the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications recommended his removal last year, stemming from the April 2008 charges that his lack of court supervision resulted in case delays. The judge's former commissioner, Nancy Broyles, was also charged but resigned last year and has been permanently banned from the bench.

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Frank Sullivan wanted a yearlong suspension without pay based on the serious nature of the case and the recommendation for removal, while Justice Ted Boehm felt a 30-day suspension was appropriate since the trial judge didn't intentionally do anything wrong. Justice Robert D. Rucker concurred with the lesser sentence, and Justice Brent Dickson wrote a paragraph of his own saying the 60-day suspension was an appropriate middleground that balances his fellow justices' disagreement, the removal recommendation, and the 105 days Judge Hawkins had already been off the bench.

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