Archive for the ‘Supreme Court’ Category

Judge facing discipline refused to take deposition oath

November 8, 2013

Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown refused to be sworn during a deposition before the Judicial Qualifications Commission – a videotaped moment of defiance used against her Monday at the outset of her weeklong disciplinary case.

Over the objection of Brown’s attorneys, the three-judge panel of special masters allowed into evidence the judge’s videotaped refusal to swear to tell the truth during an Aug. 1 deposition in the case that now includes 47 counts of judicial misconduct.

“I am always an officer of the court,” Brown says in refusing to take the oath. “I am a judge.”

Meanwhile, Brown’s attorneys said the case against her is a result of problems with her court staff and that she’s being singled out for delayed releases of criminal defendants that have happened with other Marion Superior judges.

Brown was the first witness called in a hearing expected to last at least through the end of this week and possibly into next week. Brown wiped away tears as she attempted to explain why she refused to be sworn in the deposition. “I believe I’m always an officer of the court and therefore always bound to the truth,” she said.

“But you decided to do something different today,” JQC attorney Adrienne Meiring said after Brown took an oath before the masters. Retired Monroe Circuit Judge Viola Taliaferro is presiding over the panel that includes Boone Superior Judge Rebecca S. McClure and Lake Superior Judge Sheila M. Moss.

Meiring pointed Brown to rules of evidence requiring witnesses be sworn and admitted into evidence the statutes governing oaths that judges and other public officials such as police officers must take. Taliaferro asked Brown multiple times to explain why she believed she wasn’t required to swear an oath at the deposition.

“I wasn’t basing it on anything other than I’m always an officer of the court,” Brown said.

Meiring argued that Brown’s refusal to be sworn at the deposition illustrated the nature of many of the complaints against her. The charges against Brown include allegations that she delayed release of at least nine defendants – in one case for 22 days – failed to properly oversee her court, was hostile toward parties who came before and retaliated against court staff who complained, among other things.

Meiring opened by using Brown’s alleged words against her – “This isn’t McDonald’s … It’ll get ruled on when it gets ruled on,” Meiring said. “This is not simply a situation of a bad day.

Full Article and Source:
Judge facing discipline refused to take deposition oath

See Also:
Deadline set for Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown to respond to petition seeking her removal

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Deadline set for Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown to respond to petition seeking her removal

September 8, 2013

The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday set a noon Wednesday deadline for Marion Superior Judge Kimberly J. Brown to file a response challenging an emergency petition to remove her from the bench.

The order signed by Chief Justice Brent E. Dickson says the deadline was set because disciplinary rules do not specifically establish a deadline for responses to interim suspension petitions.

The state Commission on Judicial Qualifications last month filed a complaint against Brown alleging 45 counts of misconduct. At the same time, the commission filed an emergency petition seeking her suspension, with pay, pending outcome of a disciplinary case involving the alleged misconduct.

The action to remove a judge before completion of a disciplinary case is an “extraordinary measure,” the court noted when announcing the action against Brown on Aug. 26.

Brown, a Democrat elected in 2008, faces charges that include dereliction of duty, delaying the release of at least nine defendants from jail, failing to train or supervise court employees, creating a hostile environment for staff and attorneys and failing to properly complete paperwork.

A staff member who answered the phone in Brown’s court Friday said that the judge was “unavailable” but could not say whether or not Brown was working. Brown was reported to be on vacation when the charges were filed and it was not clear Friday whether she had returned to the bench.

Full Article and Source:
Deadline set for Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown to respond to petition seeking her removal

Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits

July 9, 2013

Drug companies failed to warn patients
that toxic epidermal necrolysis was a side effect.
 But the Supreme Court ruled they’re still
 not liable for damages.

July 7, 2013. Washington. In case readers missed it with all the coverage of the Trayvon Martin murder trial and the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act, the US Supreme Court also made a ruling on lawsuits against drug companies for fraud, mislabeling, side effects and accidental death. From now on, 80 percent of all drugs are exempt from legal liability.

In a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling and award for the victim of a pharmaceutical drug’s adverse reaction. According to the victim and the state courts, the drug caused a flesh-eating side effect that left the patient permanently disfigured over most of her body. The adverse reaction was hidden by the drug maker and later forced to be included on all warning labels. But the highest court in the land ruled that the victim had no legal grounds to sue the corporation because its drugs are exempt from lawsuits.

Full Article and Source:
Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits

"Judicial Deceit: Tyranny and Unnecessary Secrecy at the Michigan Supreme Court"

May 13, 2013
Details of the infamous feud between Republican-nominated Michigan Supreme Court justices and flamboyant Democratic attorney Geoffrey Fieger is one of many allegations of judicial misconduct in a book by former Justice Elizabeth Weaver due out later this month.

 
In the wide-ranging, 750-page account of the high court’s inner workings, Weaver accuses former Chief Justice Clifford Taylor of offering to change his ruling on a Fieger matter if she would withdraw a public dissent accusing Taylor and three other justices of being biased and prejudiced toward Fieger.
 
Fieger asked the court in August 2006 to halt its reprimand against him for disparaging three appeals court judges in a malpractice lawsuit against Beaumont Hospital.
 
According to Weaver’s book, Taylor, in a memo to fellow justices, offered to change his vote against granting Fieger a stay if Weaver would withdraw a dissenting opinion that the so-called “Engler Four” — Taylor and justices Stephen Markman, Robert Young Jr. and Maura Corrigan — had a bias against Fieger, a political enemy who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to defeat them at the ballot box.
 
“These were deals, and I wouldn’t make the deals,” Weaver writes in the forthcoming book. “The majority of four simply were not liking that I wouldn’t be bullied. I was going to stand up, even alone.”
 
Weaver and co-author David Schock claim in “Judicial Deceit: Tyranny and Unnecessary Secrecy at the Michigan Supreme Court,” there were countless instances of unethical behavior among justices during her 16-year career on the high court.
 
“You can’t be bargaining like the Legislature, horse-trading on a case,” Weaver said in an interview with The Detroit News.

Full Article and Source:
Former Justice Alleges Supreme Court Misconduct in Forthcoming Book

Michigan Supreme Court Disciplines District Court Judge

May 6, 2013

The Michigan Supreme Court concurred with the State Judicial Tenure Commission and ordered a 30-day suspension without pay, along with a public censure, for Hudsonville District Court Judge Kenneth Post. The discipline stems from a December, 2011 hearing in which Post jailed an attorney on contempt charges for advising a client to plead the Fifth in answering questions from the bench about drug use.

Source:
Supreme Court Disciplines District Court Judge

NM Judge Naranjo Suspended

April 25, 2013

According to the disciplinary order issued by the New Mexico Supreme Court, Naranjo is suspended without pay for 90 days, effective Monday, April 22, with 60 days deferred on the condition he successfully completes the supervised probation term imposed by the court; formal mentorship for the remainder of his term as magistrate, which will begin when the Supreme Court appoints a mentor; and a National Judicial College online course, “Ethics and Judging: Reaching Higher Ground,” which he will attend at his own expense.

The disciplinary order states the 60-day deferred suspension will be automatically imposed if Naranjo violates any term of the stipulation agreement and consent to discipline filed in the Supreme Court. It also states Naranjo shall immediately and permanently resign from office if he causes a notice of formal proceedings to be issued in any matter while he is on probation.

Source:
Judge Naranjo Suspended

Missouri Supreme Court Makes Lawyer Discipline Hearings Public

April 12, 2013

The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that an attorney discipline hearing cannot be closed to the public without good reason.

The rare Friday decision says the Disciplinary Hearing Panel can only close a pending hearing involving a St. Louis attorney if the panel can show “good cause.” The discipline panel previously issued a blanket order closing the proceedings, which was challenged by Missouri Lawyers Media.

The Supreme Court said its ruling was the first interpreting a new court rule setting guidelines for when disciplinary hearings can be confidential.

St. Louis attorney Ben Lipman represented Missouri Lawyers Media. He says the decision will help ensure future proceedings are not closed inappropriately.

Source:
Missouri Court Makes Lawyer Discipline Hearing Public

FL State Supreme Court Confirms Discipline Measures for Rude Judge

March 15, 2013

The Florida Supreme Court has affirmed a trial judge’s discipline for “rude and intemperate behavior” that included screaming at attorneys and sentencing a defendant without his lawyer present.
 
The court on Thursday ruled that Orange County Circuit Judge Tim Shea should send letters of apology and continue mental health treatment. Its decision also requires Shea to appear before the high court for a public reprimand.
 
But the justices also recognized that Shea had admitted mistakes and had been going through a “particularly stressful time” because of a family member’s mental illness.

Source:
State Supreme Court Confirms Discipline Measures for Rude Judge

Lawyer Without Prior Discipline History Suspended Six Months

February 2, 2013

A Hubertus lawyer with no prior professional discipline record has been suspended from practice for six months for lack of action in civil cases for seven clients and for not keeping them informed.
Everett E. Wood was also ordered to pay nearly $20,000 for the costs of the proceedings against him, according to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling.  

The Office of Lawyer Regulation issued a complaint alleging 28 counts of professional misconduct against Wood (Wisconsin, ’92) in July 2011. The counts involved inaction and lack of client communication in civil cases involving seven clients, and one count of practicing law during a time his license was suspended for failing to meet continuing education requirements.

The court quoted the referee’s finding:

These are matters where Mr. Wood simply failed to act diligently on client matters and then when confronted by his clients, failed to communicate. To compound the issue, when several of Mr. Wood’s clients finally lost patience and brought the issue to the OLR for investigation, Mr. Wood often failed to cooperate with the OLR. Further, the misconduct doesn’t involve just one case that slipped through the cracks——this misconduct spans a period of time and a series of cases. This is a pattern of misconduct that has caused Mr. Wood’s clients unnecessary anxiety, stress and money.

Source:
Lawyer Withour Prior Discipline History Suspended Six Months

See Also:
Supreme Court of Wisconsin Ruling

KS Former AG Phill Kline Discipline Case Goes Before Kansas Supreme Court

November 13, 2012

Lawyers for former Attorney General Phill Kline and for the disciplinary administrator’s office will have one hour on Thursday to persuade a Kansas Supreme Court panel what disciplinary path to take with Kline.

Attorneys are getting more time during the hearing. Normally, each side gets 15 minutes, a total of 30 minutes to hear the case. In the Kline case, each side will get double that — 30 minutes per side.

It is unknown when the Supreme Court panel will rule on the Kline case, Kansas Supreme Court spokesman Ron Keefover said Friday.

“It’s up to them,” Keefover said. It could be longer because there are five judges who routinely aren’t on the court, he said.

Keefover referred to Kansas Court of Appeals Judges Henry W. Green and Karen M. Arnold-Burger and Chief Judge Edward E. Bouker of the 23rd judicial district, Chief Judge Bruce T. Gatterman of the 24th judicial district, and Douglas County District Court Judge Michael J. Malone.

The five replaced Supreme Court justices who recused themselves from hearing the Kline disciplinary case.

It isn’t uncommon for disciplinary cases to be heard in the Kansas Supreme Court, Keefover said. There usually are two disciplinary cases on every court docket.

The unusual part of the Kline case are the recusal requests by Kline and the hearing has its own special setting on Thursday rather than being included in the regular docket.

“Attorney discipline cases become public once a formal complaint is filed,” Keefover said. “The hearing before the board of discipline is open. Then if there is a finding of a violation, the case then comes before the court. Attorneys file briefs, and they have oral argument.”

Kline opposes findings that he violated ethics rules governing the conduct of lawyers.

Full Article and Source:
Kline Disciplinary Case Goes Before Kansas Supreme Court