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City court judge resigns, banned from bench

March 25, 2010

The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted the resignation from the bench of a suspended city court judge accused of theft. The judge is also permanently banned from judicial office.

Bicknell City Court Judge David A. Moreland and the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications tendered a conditional agreement in which the commission agreed to suspend its prosecution of the non-attorney judge and ask that the case be dismissed in exchange for Judge Moreland's resignation from office. The agreement also permanently bans him from judicial service, requires repayment of costs of the proceeding, and prevents him from making public statements misrepresenting the status of the investigation or terms of the agreement.

If Judge Moreland violates the terms of the agreement, the commission can re-file charges of ethical misconduct.

The commission filed charges against the judge in December 2009 after he was arrested for five counts of felony theft. Judge Moreland is accused of knowingly exerting unauthorized control over cash payments that resolved failures to appear and restore drivers' licenses, payments for infraction tickets written by the Bicknell Police Department but not recorded with the city court, and cashed checks from the Bicknell City Court without authorization. His wife, Cindy, is also facing five felony theft charges; she was the clerk of the court at the time of the alleged theft.

The Supreme Court accepted the parties' agreement, finding further prosecution to be unnecessary because Judge Moreland could have likely faced removal from office, a ban on serving as a judicial officer, and the costs of the proceedings. Continuing the proceeding would be a waste of limited judicial resources, the justices concluded.

The resignation is effective immediately. The matter is dismissed without prejudice regarding the commission's right to re-file charges. Judge Moreland must send a resignation letter to Gov. Mitch Daniels.

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