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Hamilton County judge receives public reprimand

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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.

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    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.

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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