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Commission recommends removing embattled judge

December 2, 2013

Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown should be removed from office, the Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission recommends in findings of fact compiled after the weeklong hearing of a 47-count complaint that concluded Nov. 10.

Removal is warranted, the commission argues, given “the depth and breadth of misconduct in this matter, as well as Judge Kimberly Brown’s actions during the course of the investigation and proceedings.”

The commission focused from the beginning on Brown’s refusal to take an oath at a deposition in her disciplinary case. Commission attorneys said that defiance was emblematic of the counts against her.

The charges against Brown include at least nine counts related to wrongful detention of criminal defendants in the Marion County Jail – one for 22 days. She also is accused of 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.

The proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law were entered on the case docket Monday. The three-judge panel of special masters appointed to hear Brown’s case is acting on an expedited basis and must report to the Indiana Supreme Court by Dec. 30.

Brown’s attorneys on Nov. 25 requested an extension of time to file proposed findings, but there has been no further action on that request. Brown presides in Marion Superior Criminal Court 7 which hears a docket of mainly misdemeanor and Class D felony domestic violence cases.

“Judge Kimberly Brown has not demonstrated that she possesses the appropriate demeanor, competence, or knowledge to be a judicial officer,” the JQC argues. “She has not shown true remorse for her misconduct or provided any indication that she believes she must change her conduct in the future.”

The special masters, retired Monroe Circuit Judge Viola Taliaferro, Boone Superior Judge Rebecca S. McClure and Lake Superior Judge Sheila M. Moss, heard seven days of testimony regarding the counts against Brown.

 

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