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Town court judge publicly admonished

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The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications issued a public admonition of the Walkerton Town Court judge today for employing his wife as court clerk for more than 10 years and for participating in an ex parte conversation with a defendant about her traffic infractions.

Judge Roger L. Huizenga was admonished for violating Canon 3C(4) and Rule 2.12 - which replaced Canon 3C(4) effective Jan. 1, 2009 - when he hired his wife as court clerk for the town court in St. Joseph County. His wife was court clerk from November 1995 until March 13, 2009, when she resigned after the initiation of the commission's investigation.

In 1998, the ICJQ issued an advisory opinion setting out guidelines and restrictions for judges on the hiring of friends or relatives and stated judges were advised to contact the commission to discuss potential employment. The opinion also stated the employment or appointment of a spouse will likely never be appropriate. Judge Huizenga didn't contact the commission to discuss employing his wife as court clerk.

The judge admitted violating Cannons 1, 2 and 3B(8) as a result of his participating in an ex parte conversation with a woman on the state of her traffic violations and for his assumption of the role of prosecutor when he negotiated a resolution to the defendant's case. He told her she would have to pay her speeding ticket but her ticket for the expired license plate would be dismissed if she renewed her plate within 30 days. No deputy prosecutor was present for the conversation between Judge Huizenga and the defendant.

The admonition concludes the commission's investigation and the judge won't be formally charged with ethical misconduct.

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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