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City court judge faces disciplinary charges

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A city court judge accused in October of theft of court funds is now facing disciplinary charges. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has filed charges against non-attorney Bicknell City Court Judge David Andrew Moreland.

The misconduct charges stem from five counts of theft filed against the judge and his wife, Cindy, alleging they stole more than $21,000 since he took the bench Jan. 1, 2008.

The Judicial Qualifications Commission has charged Judge Moreland with five counts of misconduct. Count I stems from the allegation the judge misappropriated funds for personal use in 2008, violating Canons 1 and 2A of the 2008 Code of Judicial Conduct; Count II comes from Judge Moreland directing or permitting his wife to misappropriate court funds for personal use in 2008, violating Canons 1 and 2A; Count III centers on the judge misappropriating court funds for personal use in 2009 in violation of Rule 1.1 of the 2009 Code of Judicial Conduct; Count IV centers on the judge allowing his wife to misappropriate court funds in 2009 in violation of Rules 1.1 and 1.2; and Count V involves Judge Moreland employing his wife as city court clerk, which violates Cannon 3(C)(4) of the 2008 code and 2.13(A)(2) of the 2009 code. All of the counts also allege Judge Moreland committed willful misconduct in office and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

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.

The alleged theft was discovered in August after John Bennington of the Indiana State Board of Accounts audited records from Jan. 1, 2008 to mid-2009 and found discrepancies. Bennington believes the missing money can be tied 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. Judge Moreland was suspended with pay Oct. 14 after the theft charges were filed by the Knox County Prosecutor's Office.

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