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Embattled judge responds to suspension bid: ‘can and will learn’ from mistakes

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A Marion Superior judge facing a 45-count disciplinary complaint responded today to a petition for her suspension by saying, “She is resolute that she can and will learn from what has been alleged, and that she will redouble her efforts to proceed.”

Judge Kimberly Brown’s response was filed before a Supreme Court-imposed noon deadline today to answer a verified petition for suspension on multiple allegations. Brown is accused of a litany of charges, including that her actions led to the delayed release of at least nine defendants who wrongly spent 1 to 22 days in jail, and that she created “a hostile environment for attorneys, court staff, clerks, and other court officials.”

The Judicial Qualifications Commission on Aug. 26 issued a verified petition for suspension, alleging those violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and also accusing Brown of failing to properly supervise staff and court officers. Brown also is charged with improperly converting jury trials to bench trials and causing needless delays.

Brown’s response and a further detailed memorandum prepared by Indianapolis attorney Aaron Haith strikes a contrite, conciliatory and corrective tone and asks the justices to deny the petition for suspension and allow her to continue to preside “until an adjudication of all issues is reached.” No proceedings before the JQC had been scheduled as of today.   

“Judge Brown states that it has never been her intent to knowingly fail to oversee and train her staff. Judge Brown recognizes that it is her responsibility to be certain the staff performs in a fair and reasonable manner and to the best of their abilities,” the response says.

Brown specifically denies one of 10 generalized areas of complaints against her: that she retaliated against and fired a court employee she believed had filed or was planning to file an ethics complaint against her. “Judge Brown submits that she has not done this in the past nor will she do this in the future,” the response says.

Among the most damning allegations against Brown are charges that her failure to properly document and follow through with court orders resulted in the improper jailing of nine defendants on misdemeanor charges – one for 22 days, another for 17 days. Brown responds that she is determined “to address every concern stated by the Commission and accept responsibility and correct any problems or omissions that have been made.”

Brown sought in the memorandum to distinguish her case from prior judicial discipline cases that involved suspension of one judge and removal of another.

 “Contrary to the arguments of the Commission, (Brown) does not present a similar issue of court management as was addressed by the Court in Matter of Hawkins, 902 N.E.2d 231 (Ind. 2009),” the response says, referring to a divided opinion in which Marion Superior Judge Grant Hawkins was suspended for 60 days.

“The delays caused by (Brown) and her staff are not the result of a lack of internal management systems aimed at addressing the specific problem, though the system may have proven to be inadequate. The fact that delayed releases continue within the court system, including (Brown’s court), is most discouraging and requires additional concern.”

“Judge Brown’s conduct thus far is not one of a persistent failure to perform judicial duties over a long period of time as was found in Matter of Kouros, 816 N.E.2d 21 (Ind. 2002),” the memorandum says, referring to the removal of twice-suspended Lake Superior Judge Joan Kouros for a number of administrative failings.

Brown’s response makes repeated assertions that corrective action has been taken in regard to allegations or that she is working with court staff to implement changes.  

“While (Brown) can understand that some may perceive her actions as hostile, she feels she is level handed in her treatment of all persons she works with and those who appear before her whether a litigant or party,” the response memorandum says. “She nonetheless believes that while she has been cooperative with counsel and fellow judges, she can and will always strive to be better.”


 

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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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