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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ind. Courts - "Commission: Judge’s apology 'too little, too late'”

Updating this ILB post from Dec. 19th, headed "New activity reported in the Judge Brown disciplinary hearing docket," Tim Evans of the Indianapolis Star has late this morning posted a story about the Commission on Judicial Qualifications' response to Judge Brown's Dec. 11th filing. Some quotes:

An apology by Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown, who is facing 47 counts of professional misconduct, is “too little, too late” and should not be considered in pending disciplinary proceedings, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications argues in a new filing with the Supreme Court.

Brown issued her apology and an offer to accept a 60-day suspension on Dec. 11. It came the same day Indianapolis attorney Karl Mulvaney notified the Supreme Court that he is taking over Brown’s defense from her previous attorney, Aaron Haith. * * *

In the response filed Dec. 19 to Brown’s apology, the commission contends the judge’s effort to skirt a disciplinary ruling “is contrary to the rules, is untimely, presents additional evidence outside of the (trial) record, does not adequately address all matters tried, and proposes an inadequate sanction to resolve this case.”

The commission also asked the court to reject an affidavit submitted by former Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan Jr., who offered a character reference for Brown and suggested he could serve as a mentor to the judge during a probationary period.

Commission attorney Adrienne L. Meiring, who is acting as the prosecutor in the case against Brown, wrote in a 24-page response to Brown’s filing that the apology and offer to accept a suspension came eight days after the court-established deadline for her response in the case.

Meiring also said it appears the judge is attempting “to forgo a disciplinary finding” by making a “settlement offer to the court directly,” which is inconsistent with disciplinary procedures. * * *

Brown’s alleged misconduct was the subject a trial last month before a three-judge “masters” panel appointed by the Supreme Court. The masters — retired Monroe County Judge Viola Taliaferro, Boone Superior Court Judge Rebecca McClure and Lake Superior Court Judge Sheila Moss — have until Dec. 30 to submit their findings and a disciplinary recommendation to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court will make the final decision on any discipline for Brown and does not have to follow the recommendation of the masters.

ILB: This Dec. 11th ILB post links to the Dec. 11th Judge Brown filings, including former-Justice Sullivan's vouching letter.

Here is Prof. Schumm's Dec. 13th commentary.

And here is 25-page, Dec. 19th document, headed "Commission's Opposition to Respondent's Submission to Discipline in Lieu of Submission of Findings," which is the subject of today's Star story.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 21, 2013 12:15 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts