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Professor testifies about impeachment of judge

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Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Charles G. Geyh appeared before the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on the Judiciary Tuesday as a witness in its hearing on the possible impeachment of U.S. District Judge Thomas G. Porteous of New Orleans. This is the second time in less than a week the professor has appeared before the House.

In his testimony Tuesday, Geyh delivered his opinion on what he called "ethical concerns of the most extreme sort" by Judge Porteous. The judge is accused of accepting cash and other gifts from attorneys who appeared before his court. Judge Porteous also refused to recuse himself from a case where the defendant had a close relationship with the judge's friend.

Geyh testified Judge Porteous' conduct entailed a gross abuse of judicial power that showed a complete disregard for the core ethical qualities a judge should display.

"Having improperly solicited thousands of dollars from a lawyer while he was representing a party in a case pending before him, the need for Judge Porteous to disqualify himself was even more plain, rendering his erroneous failure to withdraw more obviously willful," Geyh said. "It is utterly inconceivable that a reasonable person would not question the impartiality of a judge who solicited thousands of dollars from a lawyer in a pending matter."

Geyh was one of three national experts called to testify during Tuesday's hearing. He also testified regarding judicial disqualification before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Dec. 10.

If Judge Porteous is impeached by the House, it would be the first time in more than 20 years a federal judge was impeached. The U.S. Senate would then hold a trial to determine whether the judge should be removed.

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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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