ILNews

Indicted judge to be suspended

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has filed a notice with the Indiana Supreme Court for a request of suspension of LaPorte Superior Judge Jennifer Koethe, who was indicted Thursday for attempted obstruction of justice stemming from a shooting incident at her home in December.

Judge Koethe was a judge-elect when she was grazed by a bullet during a shooting in her home Dec. 22, 2008. She was briefly hospitalized and took the bench shortly after the incident.

Commission staff attorney Adrienne Meiring filed the request for suspension today based on Rule 25 of the Indiana Rules of Court for admission and discipline that requires a judicial officer shall be suspended with pay by the Supreme Court upon the filing of an indictment of a felony charge, said Indiana Supreme Court spokesperson Kathryn Dolan.

The grand jury indicted Judge Koethe with attempted obstruction of justice, a Class D felony, finding she requested a handwritten note that was evidence in an official investigation be disposed of, according to court documents. The indictment doesn't specify what the note said.

Her husband, Stephan, was indicted on two counts - Class A misdemeanor false informing, and Class B misdemeanor criminal recklessness for handling and loading a firearm while intoxicated and during an argument with another intoxicated person. Her husband told a local news station shortly after the shooting that the judge accidentally shot herself while handling a gun that she believed was empty.

In January, Special Judge Walter Chapala ordered all firearms removed from the Koethes' home and for the couple to abstain from drinking alcohol whenever Stephan's children from a previous marriage would be in their care. Special Prosecutor Michael A. Dvorak of St. Joseph County asked April 18 for the grand jury investigation of the shooting.

Judge Koethe currently presides in LaPorte Superior 3. As a result of the criminal charge filed against the judge, Lake Superior Judge Thomas P. Stefaniak has been appointed by the Supreme Court to preside over Judge Koethe's case. The entire LaPorte County judiciary recused themselves from hearing the matter to avoid the appearance of impropriety, Dolan said.

Dolan said the Supreme Court is handling the request for suspension as quickly as possible.

ADVERTISEMENT

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. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

ADVERTISEMENT