ILNews

Masters named in traffic judge’s misconduct case

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The Indiana Supreme Court has appointed the three masters in the case of Marion Superior Judge William Young.

Allen Superior Judge Frances C. Gull, Senior Judge Steven Fleece, and Henry Circuit Judge Mary G. Willis will hear evidence in the misconduct case against the traffic court judge.

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which charged Judge Young in July, alleges he “engaged in a practice of imposing substantially higher penalties against traffic court litigants who chose to have trials and lost,” and that he “routinely made statements implying that litigants should not demand trials and would be penalized for doing so if they lost.”

Judge Young faces four counts of misconduct:

Count I is that he violated Rule 1.2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, requiring judges to uphold the integrity of the judiciary and to maintain high standards of conduct; violated Rule 2.2 which requires judges to perform their duties fairly and impartially; violated Rule 2.3(A) requiring judges to perform their duties without bias or prejudice; violated Rule 2.8(B) that requires judges to be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants and lawyers; violated Rule 2.11(A) that mandates that a judge disqualify himself when the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party; and overall that Judge Young committed conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Count II centers on the judge’s general sentencing practice of imposing increased penalties against traffic infraction litigants for exercising their rights to trial. By engaging in that pattern of conduct, the judge allegedly violated Rules 1.1, 1.2, and 2.2 – requiring judges to comply with the law and prohibiting them from conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Count III mirrors the above charge on the increased fines, but specifically focuses on that general practice after trials on traffic infraction cases.

Count IV charges that in 2009 Judge Young routinely attempted to coerce traffic court litigants into admitting infractions through his advisements, comments, projections about potential evidence, and misstatements about the burden of proof. The commission alleges that by doing so Judge Young violated Rules 1.2, 2.2, and 2.6(B), requiring judges to not act in a manner that coerces any party into settlement, and committed conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
 

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