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Commission: Suspend Judge Kimberly Brown

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Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown circumvented the three-judge panel that heard her disciplinary case with a direct appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court, the presiding judge said in striking her last-minute apology and an affidavit in her support from former Justice Frank Sullivan.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission is asking for Brown's suspension with pay while the court considers the special masters' request that she be removed from the bench.

“If the Court adopts the Masters' and the Commission's recommendations and issues an order or removal, the Commission asks the Court, at that time, also to find (Brown) permanently ineligible for judicial office,” commission counsel Adrienne Meiring recommended in a Jan. 3 filing.

In a filing a day earlier, retired Monroe Circuit Judge Viola Taliaferro struck Brown's Dec. 11 filing that submitted to discipline and suggested a 60-day suspension. “The proposal in Brown's Submission is rejected, the Affidavits submitted are stricken, and Brown's Motion for leave to file a reply to the Commission's Answer is denied,” she wrote. Taliaferro presides over the three-judge panel of special masters that heard Brown's disciplinary case.

Taliaferro wrote that Brown failed to show cause for not filing findings after her hearing. Instead, “Brown by-passed the Panel of Special Masters” with the Dec. 11 filing that advocated a 60-day suspension and included Sullivan's affidavit. “The submission was later supplied to the Special Masters by the Supreme Court,” Taliaferro wrote.

The commission asked the masters to strike the filings as untimely and outside the record, and the panel agreed. “In that evidence has been heard, concluded and the cause submitted to the special masters for ruling, Brown's chance to apologize, show mitigating circumstances, and recommend proposed discipline has passed,” Taliaferro wrote.

The commission would be unduly prejudiced if Brown's filing or Sullivan's affidavit were admitted without the opportunity to cross-examine the parties, she wrote. The panel stands on its recommendation that Brown be removed from the bench but clarified that the masters do not recommend suspending Brown's law license.

Taliaferro and the other judges on the panel -- Boone Superior Judge Rebecca S. McClure and Lake Superior Judge Sheila M. Moss – concluded last month that the commission had proven 46 of 47 counts against Brown.

Allegations against Brown include wrongful detention of at least nine criminal defendants, failing to properly oversee her court, improperly supervising trials, failing to act on Court of Appeals orders, showing hostility toward parties who came before her, and retaliating against court staff who complained.
 

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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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