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City court judge accused of theft, suspended

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A Knox County City Court judge was suspended today following the filing of five theft charges against the judge Tuesday. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed the "Notice of Criminal Charges and Request for Suspension," No. 42S00-0910-JD-441, with the Indiana Supreme Court after learning of the charges.

The Supreme Court suspended non-attorney Bicknell City Court Judge David Andrew Moreland with pay effective today pursuant to Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 25(V)(A). The suspension continues until further order from the high court.

The Knox County prosecutor filed the five Class D felony theft charges against Judge Moreland alleging he stole more than $21,000 since taking the bench Jan. 1, 2008. The judge 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 is the clerk of the court.

The alleged theft was discovered in August after John Bennington of the Indiana State Board of Accounts began auditing records from Jan. 1, 2008 to mid-2009 and found discrepancies. Bennington believes the missing money can be channeled to the judge and his wife, according to the probable cause affidavit. Judge Moreland was the only one with a key to a lock box that contained the money, receipts, and citations ordered, and he was responsible for posting the receipts into the city's cash book.

According to the Indiana State Police probable cause affidavit, Judge Moreland said he never stole any money but admitted he had taken some money with the intention of paying it back. He said the money wasn't for gambling or drugs, but he used it because he was about to lose his house, and had unpaid medical and credit card bills, but he was vague about his mortgage and bills. He would take the money before he made a receipt.

In the affidavit, Judge Mooreland admitted to writing at least one of the checks for his house payments, and his wife wrote the others. Cindy was also vague about the missing money but also claimed they intended to pay it back.

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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