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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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