ILNews

Hamilton County judge receives public reprimand

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Supreme Court issued a public reprimand against Hamilton Superior Judge William J. Hughes, the disciplinary sanction stemming from an out-of-state drunk driving arrest.

In a per curiam opinion issued Friday, the court culminated the case of In The Matter of the Hon. William J. Hughes,  No. 29S00-1105-JD-279. The justices agreed with the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which had reached an agreement with Judge Hughes for a public reprimand.

Judge Hughes was arrested Oct. 27, 2010, after being pulled over in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.13 — nearly twice the state’s legal limit of 0.08. He was charged with driving while impaired and a traffic infraction of driving left of center, and a day after his arrest he notified the Indiana judicial qualifications commission about what had happened.

In April, the prosecutor dismissed the DWI charge for a lower misdemeanor reckless driving charge, and Judge Hughes pleaded guilty. His criminal sanction: 12 months of unsupervised probation that includes enrolling and completing an alcohol and drug assessment program within 180 days or attending at least 10 hours of substance abuse counseling, and a stipulation that he won’t operate a vehicle within eight hours of consuming any alcohol. The judge also paid $443 in fines and court costs.

“At no time during the criminal proceedings did Respondent attempt in any way to gain an advantage because he is a judge,” the Supreme Court wrote. “Rather, the criminal proceedings were handled in the customary fashion for the jurisdiction.”

The commission asserted that Judge Hughes violated Rule 1.1 and 1.2 of the state judicial conduct code — provisions that say a jurist will comply with the law and at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary.

First joining the bench in 1988, Judge Hughes does not have any previous discipline history with the Indiana system before this public reprimand. This sanction is one that other trial judges have received for similar conduct in recent years.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Favored
    The average citizen would not receive reckless driving for BA over the legal limit. The average hamilton county indiana citizen must refrain from drinking. The averge citizen in Hamilton County Indiana would have DL suspended for 90 days. Unfair balance in justice in Hamilton County Indiana. Didn't he resist being finger printed and resisted arrest. This is just plain wrong.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

ADVERTISEMENT