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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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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