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Hamilton County judge pleads guilty to reckless driving

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Longtime Hamilton Superior Judge William J. Hughes pleaded guilty Monday in a North Carolina court, avoiding a drunken driving conviction for a lesser count of reckless driving that means a year of unsupervised probation.

The judge’s guilty plea comes about six months after he was arrested while vacationing along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. His blood alcohol content of 0.13 was nearly twice as high as the state’s legal limit of 0.08, and he was charged with misdemeanor driving while impaired and a traffic infraction of driving left of center.

At a hearing Monday in the Currituck County District Court, Judge Hughes pleaded guilty to reckless driving. His sentence is 12 months of unsupervised probation, and he must enroll and complete an alcohol and drug assessment program within 180 days or attend at least 10 hours of substance abuse counseling, as well as not operate a vehicle within eight hours of consuming any alcohol. The judge also paid a $300 fine and $143 in court costs.

Judge Hughes retained Teague & Glover in Elizabeth City, N.C. on the criminal charges, but attorney Keith Teague couldn’t be reached this morning and the judge was out of his office today.

First joining the bench in 1988, Judge Hughes does not have any previous discipline history with the Indiana system. The judge self-reported his out-of-state arrest to the Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission. Generally, any disciplinary charges come once the criminal case is complete. The Indiana Supreme Court would make any final decision on discipline once that process begins. In the past, other trial judges who’ve faced drunken-driving charges have received public reprimands for similar conduct.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

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