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Justices decline to suspend Marion Superior judge, appoint masters

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The Indiana Supreme Court on Monday declined to suspend Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown over a 45-count disciplinary complaint lodged against her, but appointed three special masters to hear the case on an expedited basis.

The court order appoints retired Monroe Circuit Judge Viola Taliaferro to preside over a panel that will include as special masters Boone Superior Judge Rebecca S. McClure and Lake Superior Judge Sheila M. Moss.

The masters are ordered to submit a schedule within 15 days that will complete a hearing in the matter by Nov. 26 and submit a report of hearing and transcript of hearing by Dec. 30.

“Given the expedited nature of this proceeding, the parties should not request continuances or extensions of time except in emergency situations of an unforeseen and extraordinary nature,” according to the order signed by Chief Justice Brent Dickson in which all justices concurred.

Brown faces an array of accusations, including counts that her actions led to the delayed release of at least nine defendants improperly jailed from periods of 1 to 22 days, and that she created “a hostile environment for attorneys, court staff, clerks, and other court officials.” She also is accused of failing to act timely on motions before her in multiple instances and causing needless delays, among other things.

Brown's response to the suspension request from the Judicial Qualifications Commission struck a contrite, conciliatory and corrective tone and asked the justices to deny the petition for suspension and allow her to continue to preside “until an adjudication of all issues is reached.”

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