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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. 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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