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Town court judge admonished for traffic case involvement

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A northeastern Indiana town court judge was given a public admonishment Monday by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications for her direct individual involvement with parties involved in a 2008 traffic infraction case.

Fremont Town Court Judge Martha C. Hagerty improperly engaged in multiple ex parte conversations and assumed the role of prosecutor when she tried to negotiate a resolution to a defendant’s case, the commission determined.

The case involves a defendant whose license was suspended after receiving a ticket. The defendant called Fremont Town Court in Steuben County, and Hagerty said the license would be reinstated if the defendant paid the ticket and an additional fine. Hagerty also took part in ex parte communications with the prosecutor in the case, according to the admonition.

Hagerty didn’t set a hearing after she received notice that the defendant wished to contest the ticket, according to the admonition. More than two years later, the defendant filed a motion for discovery that the judge denied. She granted the prosecutor’s motion to dismiss the charges in January.

Hagerty, who is not an attorney, acknowledges she violated Rule 1.2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which requires judges to promote confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and Rule 2.2, which requires judges to perform duties fairly and impartially. She also acknowledges violation of Rule 2.9(A) forbidding ex parte communications except in emergencies.  

The commission determined that formal disciplinary charges are warranted against her. However, Supreme Court rules allow for the judicial officer and the commission to agree to a public admonition instead of filing charges.

“Had Judge Hagerty not been so responsive to the commission’s concerns and taken immediate corrective action, the commission would have been inclined to pursue a stronger course of action,” the admonition says.
 

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  1. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  2. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

  3. Perhaps we should also convene a panel of independent anthropological experts to study the issues surrounding this little-known branch of human sacrifice?

  4. I'm going to court the beginning of Oct. 2015 to establish visitation and request my daughters visits while she is in jail. I raised my grandchild for the first two and half years. She was born out of wedlock and the father and his adopted mother wantwd her aborted, they went as far as sueing my daughter for abortion money back 5mo. After my grandchild was born. Now because of depression and drug abuse my daughter lost custody 2 and a half years ago. Everyting went wrong in court when i went for custody my lawyer was thrown out and a replacment could only stay 45 min. The judge would not allow a postponement. So the father won. Now he is aleinating me and my daughter. No matter the amount of time spent getting help for my daughter and her doing better he runs her in the ground to the point of suicide because he wants her to be in a relationship with him. It is a sick game of using my grandchild as a pawn to make my daughter suffer for not wanting to be with him. I became the intervener in the case when my daughter first got into trouble. Because of this they gave me her visitation. Im hoping to get it again there is questions of abuse on his part and I want to make sure my grandchild is doing alright. I really dont understand how the parents have rights to walk in and do whatever they want when the refuse to stand up and raise the child at first . Why should it take two and a half years to decide you want to raise your child.The father used me so he could finish college get a job and stop paying support by getting custody. Support he was paying my daughter that I never saw.

  5. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral. Planned Parenthood has asked the government s top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

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