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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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