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Justices: judicial discipline now moot

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The Indiana Supreme Court has ended a disciplinary action against a former LaPorte Superior judge who'd served in senior capacity for three years because that jurist has retired and will no longer practice law.

A unanimous order issued by the court today dismisses without prejudice the case against Judge Walter P. Chapala, who faced five misconduct accusations for his actions while serving as an elected judge from 2001 to 2004. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications late last year accused him of suspending a defendant's sentence in exchange for donations to court programs, and also the judge's alleged involvement in a relative's case over which he presided.

A two-day hearing was set to begin March 12, but that's now been dismissed. The judge has been acting in senior status since 2005, but is no longer certified in that capacity, and he filed a retirement affidavit on Feb. 25, according to the court order.

"The allegations of misconduct here are most serious," the court wrote. "But the effect of the most likely sanctions that this Court would impose if it were to find Judge Chapala guilty has already been achieved with his resignation from the bench, the termination of his service as a Senior Judge, and his retirement from the bar. We therefore find that the matter is effectively moot and the continued litigation of this matter an inefficient use of limited judicial resources."

The judicial disciplinary commission can re-file charges against Judge Chapala if he ever seeks reinstatement as an attorney in Indiana or anywhere else.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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