What happened to civility?

September 18, 2008
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We’ve got another sitting judge in trouble for his actions.

Howard Superior Judge Stephen Jessup received a public admonition after storming over to the prosecuting attorney’s office trying to find out where the deputy prosecutor was who was supposed to be in his courtroom that day and accusing the attorney of being on drugs.

He didn’t have any knowledge deputy prosecuting attorney did drugs. Reached by telephone this afternoon, 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.

Then, we have Allen Superior Judge Kenneth Schiebenberger, who went to another judge’s courtroom – while in his judicial robe – and verbally berated members of a defendant’s family at a sentencing hearing. His case is before a master’s panel appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court.

I know, I know … judges are human, but when they take on the role of judge, they are held to a high standard to be civil when working with others in the legal community. They shouldn’t interrupt business being conducted in another judge’s courtroom nor should they accuse an attorney of illicit behavior because he didn’t show up to court and sent someone else in his place.

Indiana judges are nationally recognized for their civility and have a good reputation in the legal community. Let’s try to keep it that way.
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