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Judge charged with violating Code of Judicial Conduct

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A Blackford County judge has been charged with judicial misconduct related to his banning the court clerk from the county courthouse and threatening to arrest and possibly incarcerate her if she even stepped on the sidewalks surrounding the property.

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed an 11-page Notice of the Institution of Formal Proceedings and Statement of Charges Wednesday against Blackford Circuit Judge Dean A. Young with the Indiana Supreme Court. Young has 20 days to file an answer to the charges.

Also, the JQC publicly admonished Blackford Superior Judge John N. Barry for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct and basic due process requirements for emergency orders. However, the commission decided not to file any disciplinary charges because Barry cooperated with the inquiry, accepted responsibility for his conduct and has no prior disciplinary history.

Young has been on the bench since 2007 and gained some national notoriety in August 2014. Angry about an attorney’s style of dress, he issued an order, forcing the lawyer to wear socks in his courtroom.

The current disciplinary action arises from a hearing Aug. 20, 2015, in which Young and Barry are charged with not providing proper notice, not advising the participants of the right to counsel or giving them the opportunity to consult with an attorney. At that hearing, the judges issued a temporary restraining order against Blackford Court Clerk Derinda Shady, preventing her from entering the courthouse or even “the four sidewalks that border the property.”

Although Barry was at the hearing and made comments that the reason Shady was being banned from the courthouse was because of concerns over her behavior and the possible risk she posed to the court’s records, Young conducted the proceedings.

The hearing centered on a dispute with Shady that stemmed from Young and Barry’s decision to transfer all the open criminal files from the clerk’s office to their court offices. The judges took the records after the Blackford County Council, citing budget constraints, moved to cut two positions from the clerk’s office.

When Shady learned of the judges’ decision, she made a profanity-laced phone call to Barry. She later apologized and agreed to cooperate with the transfer of open files. The documents were placed in the judges’ offices Aug. 11, 2015.

On Aug. 20, Young ordered a sheriff’s deputy to bring Shady and two of her deputy clerks to his court for a hearing. Shady was not able to attend because she had left work with chest pains and would eventually go to the emergency room.

Young opened the hearing by declaring that an emergency exists and that Shady would be enjoined from the courthouse grounds and her office because of her conduct over the previous three weeks. He told the deputy clerks that if they did not comply with his order, they would also be prevented from entering the courthouse and the surrounding grounds.

According to the JQC, Young did not give the deputy clerks prior notice of the hearing or the chance to respond.

Young also mentioned the phone conversation between Barry and Shady and stated, “I can assure (Clerk Shady), if she were here today, that had she said that to me that she would be here in hunter orange this morning, in chains, where she would stay and enjoy her Thanksgiving dinner, probably her Christmas dinner as well.”

Young then declared Shady unfit to serve in the county clerk and barred her from the courthouse. The JQC stated Young had no evidence that would have indicated Shady intended to destroy the court records or was a threat to the security of those documents. Also, he did not establish that she had been uncooperative in the transfer of the files.

In addition, the JQC noted the deputy clerks felt demeaned, intimidated and were afraid they would be banned from the courthouse if they contradicted Young’s statements.      

Young and Barry issued a written Joint Temporary Restraining Order and Emergency Order against Shady. If she stepped onto courthouse grounds, she would face “immediate arrest, fine, and/or incarceration pending further hearing.”

On Aug. 25, Shady’s attorney reached an agreement with Young and Berry and the temporary restraining order was vacated.

The charges against Young are for the following violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct:

•    Count 1 – violation of Rules 1.1, 1.2, 2.2 and 2.6 for enjoining the elected county clerk from the courthouse after conducting hearing at which she was not present nor had been adequately notified or provided the opportunity to seek counsel.
•    Count 2 – violation of Rules 1.2 and 2.8(B) for his conduct prior to the Aug. 20 hearing and his statements during hearing which did not reflect patience, dignity or courtesy and did not promote public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary.
•    Count 3 – violation of Rules 1.1, 1.2 and 2.2 for commanding the deputy clerks to appear for a hearing without providing them with prior written notice of the purpose of the hearing.
•    Count 4 – violation of Rules 1.1, 1.2, 2.2 and 2.11 for presiding as a judicial officer in the temporary restraining order proceedings against Shady when he had a specific interest which would lead a reasonable person to question his impartiality in the matter.

Barry was found to have violated the following rules in the Code of Judicial Conduct:
•    Rule 2.9(A) which prohibits ex parte proceedings unless otherwise authorized by law.
•    Rules 1.1, 1.2 and 2.6 which require judges to uphold and apply the law; to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity, independence and impartiality of the judiciary; and to give every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding the right to be heard.  
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

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  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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