Too much pressure?

July 16, 2008
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We see them as the authority behind the bench, applying the law and dispensing justice on a daily basis. But what happens when a judge crosses the line – criminal conduct or not – and allows work or personal pressure to cloud judgment enough that it has a direct impact on their career?

A trial judge in Indiana faces misconduct charges for apparently going to a colleague’s courtroom during a sentencing hearing, while wearing his judicial robe, then causing a disturbance with a deputy prosecutor and verbally berating the defendant’s family. Earlier this year, another trial judge and his commissioner had several counts lodged against them alleging delays and dereliction of duty, including charges that the judge didn’t adequately supervise his staff and allowed delays in at least one case that resulted in a man being kept in prison almost two years longer than he should have been.

Don’t forget about other examples where judges have been disciplined for drinking and driving. Or high-profile examples of when a New York judge was tossed from the bench after jailing 46 people because a cell phone interrupted his courtroom proceedings. Or a federal bankruptcy judge in Massachusetts who resigned a week after he was arrested for driving drunk while reportedly wearing a woman’s dress, heels, and stockings.

What is the effect these examples have on the legal community and judiciary?
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  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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