A Muncie judge who was previously suspended for 13 counts of judicial misconduct and for using racial slurs recorded on video has been given a lifetime ban from serving on the bench.
Justices approved an order accepting agreed discipline late Friday after suspended Muncie City Court Judge Dianna L. Bennington and the Judicial Qualifications Commission reached a conditional discipline agreement two days ago.
“Within five (5) days of this Order, Respondent shall submit her resignation to the Governor, which resignation shall be effective immediately,” according to the unanimous order signed by Acting Chief Justice Robert D. Rucker.
Bennington faced 13 counts alleging she abused judicial power, repeatedly violated statutes and court rules, and is guilty of injudicious public conduct.
In the agreed order, Bennington admitted Jan. 16 to 10 of the 13 counts against her that violate various Rules of Judicial Conduct.
Two of the counts involved matters that happened outside of court involving confrontations with A.S., the girlfriend of Bennington’s ex-husband, J.W. In one instance, she confronted the couple and began yelling at them outside their home.
“(Bennington) and A.S. then had a verbal altercation in which A.S. told (Bennington) to leave or she was going to call the police. In response, (Bennington) used profanity and referred to A.S., who is African-American, with a racial slur,” according to the discipline agreement. “J.W. recorded the entire episode on a video pen.”
Under the agreement, Bennington may retain her law license.