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Masters appointed in cases of 2 judges

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The Indiana Supreme Court has appointed masters to the disciplinary cases of Bicknell City Court Judge David A. Moreland and LaPorte Superior Judge Jennifer Evans Koethe.

Morgan Superior Judge Christopher L. Burnham, Monroe Circuit Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff, and Hamilton Circuit Judge Paul A. Felix will serve as masters in the Bicknell city judge's case. Judge Burnham will serve as the presiding judge.

Judge Moreland is charged with five counts of Class D felony theft stemming from an audit by the state in August 2009. He's accused of stealing nearly $21,000 since he became City Court judge in 2008. He was suspended with pay by the high court in October and faces five counts of misconduct filed by the Indiana Commission Judicial Qualifications. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed a civil suit in December to prevent Judge Moreland from transferring, selling, or otherwise disposing of financial assets that the state might seek for recovery.

Tippecanoe Superior Judge Thomas H. Busch, Lake Superior Judge Diane Ross Boswell, and Noble Superior Judge Michael J. Kramer will serve as masters in Judge Koethe's case. Judge Busch will serve as the presiding judge.

Judge Koethe was recently acquitted of Class D felony attempted obstruction of justice stemming from an incident in which she was shot in her home just before taking the bench.

At the time of the incident, there were discrepancies between Judge Koethe and her husband as to how the judge was shot. She also told a detective she wrote a note to her husband and asked him to get rid of it. That request led to the grand jury indictment of Judge Koethe for attempted obstruction of justice.

Judge Koethe faces three counts of violating the Judicial Code of Conduct and the Rules of Professional Conduct. She has been suspended with pay since May.

The masters' reports in both cases should reach the Supreme Court justices by June 9, 2010, according to the orders.

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