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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. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  2. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

  3. So this firebrand GOP Gov was set free by a "unanimous Supreme Court" , a court which is divided, even bitterly, on every culture war issue. WHAT A RESOUNDING SLAP in the Virginia Court's face! How bad must it have been. And all the journalists, lap dogs of the status quo they are, can do is howl that others cannot be railroaded like McDonald now??? Cannot reflect upon the ruining of Winston and Julia's life and love? (Oh I forget, the fiction at this Ministry of Truth is that courts can never err, and when they do, and do greatly, as here, why then it must be ignored, since it does not compute.)

  4. My daughter is a addict and my grandson was taken by DCS and while in hospital for overdose my daughter was told to sign papers from DCS giving up her parental rights of my grandson to the biological father's mom and step-dad. These people are not the best to care for him and I was never called or even given the chance to take him, but my daughter had given me guardianship but we never went to court to finalize the papers. Please I have lost my daughter and I dont want to lose my grandson as well. I hope and look forward to speaking with you God Bless and Thank You for all of your help

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