A Marion County judge and his part-time commissioner face nearly a dozen judicial misconduct charges each for delays and dereliction of duty that resulted in an Indianapolis man staying in prison for almost two years after DNA testing cleared him of a 1984 rape. The Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission late Wednesday afternoon filed charges against Marion Superior Judge Grant W. Hawkins and Commissioner Nancy L. Broyles, relating to their involvement in a post-conviction case for Harold D. Buntin. Judge Hawkins faces 11 counts and Commissioner Broyles 10 counts. The charges allege Judge Hawkins did not adequately supervise his staff and commissioner, committed conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and did not uphold the integrity and public confidence of the judiciary by allowing the delays in at least one case. Both have been assigned to Marion Superior Criminal Division 5 since January 2001, which is when Judge Hawkins assigned Commissioner Broyles to handle post-conviction matters for his court. The concurrent filings from the commission deal mostly with Buntin's case, but the investigation reveals that Commissioner Broyles may have at least seven other post-conviction proceedings that were delayed between sixth months and 28 months, and some were backdated once they were ultimately decided.
The investigation shows that the part-time commissioner routinely issued final orders in post-conviction
cases without obtaining Judge Hawkins' approval and signature, contrary to Indiana
Codes 33-33-49-16 and 33-23-5-8. Each has 20 days to respond to the charges. This story will be updated.