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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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