The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has publicly admonished Beech Grove City Court Judge Charles W. Hunter for comments he made last year to an Indianapolis television reporter.
The reporter was investigating a citizen complaint submitted to the station by Charity Bryan, who uses a wheelchair. Her husband received a ticket because the handicapped placard wasn’t readily visible in the car. Charity said it had fallen in the car’s interior the day they received the ticket. The Bryans contested the ticket, but Judge Hunter found the husband violated the ordinance and imposed a fine and court costs.
During a TV interview about the ticket, the reporter discovered Judge Hunter was parking in a handicapped spot but did not have a handicapped placard on display. The judge’s son then retrieved the placard and hung it up. When the reporter asked if this wasn’t a similar situation to the couple who receive the ticket, Judge Hunter said “I didn’t get a ticket, did I?” and responded in the affirmative to the reporter who asked “So, it’s just their bad luck for having gotten a ticket?”
In lieu of filing formal disciplinary proceedings, Judge Hunter consented to the public admonishment. He admits to violating Rule 1.2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which requires judges to act at all times in a manner that promotes the public’s confidence in the judiciary and to avoid the appearance of impropriety. The commission members stress that Judge Hunter is admonished because of the injudicious nature of his public comments.
This ends the investigation by the commission and Judge Hunter will not be formally charged with ethical misconduct.