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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ind. Courts - "Indiana Supreme Court Suspends Judge Accused of Theft" [Updated]

Here is the release from the Supreme Court's press office:

The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended Knox County Bicknell City Court Judge David Andrew Moreland, effective immediately. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed a "Notice of Criminal Charges and Request for Suspension" with the Indiana Supreme Court on October 13, 2009. The notice follows this document. After reviewing the request, the Indiana Supreme Court immediately ordered Judge Moreland suspended.

The "Notice of Criminal Charges and Request for Suspension," cause number 42S00-0910-JD-441 was filed by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications when the Commission learned the Knox County Prosecutor had filed five Class D Felony charges for Theft against Judge Moreland. Commission attorney, Adrienne L. Meiring, notified the Indiana Supreme Court that the felony charges had been filed and asked the Court to suspend Judge Moreland. In the notice, Attorney Meiring pointed to Admission and Discipline Rule 25 V, subsection A of the Indiana Rules of Court. According to the rule:

A judicial officer shall be suspended with pay by the Supreme Court. .. upon the filing of an indictment or information charging the judicial officer in any court in the United States with a crime punishable as a felony under the laws of Indiana or the United States.
After reviewing the Commission's request, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered Judge Moreland suspended until further order of the Court. The Indiana Supreme Court Order also follows this document. The Indiana Supreme Court will appoint a judge pro tem to fill the vacancy left in Bicknell City Court.

David Andrew Moreland, who is not an attorney according to the Commission request, was elected to the bench and began his term January 1, 2008. Any questions related to the criminal charges filed in Knox County should be directed to Mr. Moreland, Knox County Police or Knox County Prosecutors.

Click here for links to the charging documents and court order.

[Update at 11:38 AM]
The Evansville Courier & Press is now reporting:
BICKNELL, Ind. — A Knox County judge and his wife were arrested this morning on accusations they stole thousands of dollars worth of traffic ticket fines from the court's account.

Bicknell City Judge Andrew Moreland, 45, and his wife, Cindy Moreland, 38, turned themselves in at the Knox County Jail and were then released on bond, Indiana State Police said. They are each facing five counts of theft, a class D felony.

Investigators with the Indiana State Board of Accounts conducted an audit of the court's account after receiving information that money was missing. State police detectives joined the investigation in August and authorities then discovered nearly $21,000 worth of traffic ticket fines that had been stolen from the court's account in 2008 and 2009.

Sgt. Todd Ringle said Cindy Moreland helped manage the account and that both she and her husband had access to it. He declined to release specifics on how the money was taken so as not to compromise further investigation. * * *

The Bicknell city judge is an elected position and Andrew Moreland is not an attorney. Anytime someone is issued a traffic ticket in Knox County, the law enforcement officer can cite the motorist into Knox County court or the Bicknell court. It was not immediately clear how many offenses the court handles or how many fees it collects in a year.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 14, 2009 11:05 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions