Former Adams Co. judge Miller faces discipline charges related to judicial campaign

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Editor’s note: This article has been updated.

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has filed disciplinary charges against a former Adams County Drug Court judge related to election matters during his time on the bench.

The disciplinary complaint filed against Patrick J. Miller marks the second time Miller has faced formal disciplinary action related to actions he took while holding judicial office.

The seven-member commission, which investigates alleged ethical misconduct by judges, alleged in a statement of charges filed Wednesday that Miller, the former judge of the Adams Superior Court, committed four counts of misconduct related to his 2020 judicial campaign.

In the commission’s 10-page “Notice of the Institution of Formal Proceedings and Statement of Charges,” Miller is charged with engaging in campaign activities and allowing staff to engage in campaign activities during work hours.

Miller, admitted to the Indiana bar in 1991, served as judge of the Adams Superior Court between January 2009 and December 2020, also serving as a problem-solving drug court judge. He was up for election in 2020 as his judicial term was set to end on Dec. 31, 2020, the statement of charges says.

The commission alleges Miller did not take reasonable measures to ensure a staff member did not use court facilities or resources or work during court hours on Miller’s campaign for judicial office. It also alleges that after court session but while he was still on the bench, Miller discussed the distribution of a political campaign sign with a drug court participant who had a pending case before him.

The commission alleges Miller committed four counts of misconducting that including violations of Rules 1.1, 1.2, 3.1(C), 4.1(A), 4.1(A)(10), 4.1(B), 4.2(A)(1) and 4.2(A)(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Miller is permitted, but not required, to file an answer to the charges within 20 days.

Indiana Supreme Court justices have final authority to determine what, if any, judicial misconduct occurred. It can dismiss the charges, accept or reject a disciplinary agreement between the commission and Miller, appoint a panel of judges to conduct a public hearing, impose a fine or impose sanctions ranging from a reprimand to a suspension to a permanent ban on holding judicial office in Indiana.

Miller’s reelection campaign was ultimately unsuccessful. He was defeated in the 2020 general election by now-Judge Sam Conrad, who ran as an independent. Miller ran as a Republican.

Miller is now a solo practitioner at Patrick R. Miller, Attorney at Law, according to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys.

Last year, Miller received a public reprimand for judicial misconduct after being found in violation of four judicial ethics rules related to his dispute with other county officials on behalf of his drug court coordinator.

This is the second disciplinary action brought against Miller, according to the Roll of Attorneys.

In an email to Indiana Lawyer, Miller declined to comment on the disciplinary charges because the case against him is pending.

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