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Commission admonishes Howard County judge

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A Howard Superior judge has received a public admonition for his April 2008 actions in that county's prosecutor's office. In lieu of filing formal disciplinary proceedings, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications issued the admonition, as allowed by the Indiana Supreme Court.

Judge Stephen M. Jessup was admonished by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications for violating Cannons 1, 2, and 3B(4) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The judge believed a Howard County deputy prosecutor had ignored a demand from him in 2007 to let the court know if he'd be unavailable for any court appearance. In April 2008, another deputy prosecutor substituted for the assigned deputy in Judge Jessup's court. This caused Judge Jessup to go to the courthouse office of the elected prosecuting attorney to find the deputy prosecutor. While there, he made a personally and professionally damaging statement saying the deputy prosecutor was "off popping pills" or "shooting drugs." He ordered the deputy prosecutor to court the following Monday and interrogated him about his absence on the preceding Friday. During that meeting, the judge's "demeanor and temperament again fell far below the standard expected of judges," according to the public admonition.

Judge Jessup has apologized to the deputy prosecutor and acknowledges he has no personal knowledge on which to base his statements and that his meeting with the deputy prosecutor fell below the expected standards.

Judge Jessup told Indiana Lawyer that he could not comment on specifics of the disciplinary action or the deputy prosecutor involved, though he did confirm that he's recused himself from cases involving that attorney.

The judge will not be formally charged with ethical misconduct in light of his consent to the admonition.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

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