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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ind. Decisions - More on: Marion County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Brown removed by the Supreme Court

Updating yesterday's post of the opinion in the Supreme Court judicial disciplinary action against Marion County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Brown, Tim Evans of the Indianapolis Star reports today:

The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday ousted Marion Superior Court Judge Kimberly Brown, only the third Indiana judge to be permanently removed from the bench for misconduct in the past 20 years.

“We conclude that protecting the integrity of the judicial system and ensuring the fair and timely administration of justice require that (Brown) be removed from office,” the Supreme Court said in an order. “This removal renders (Brown) ineligible for judicial office.”

Brown is the first Indiana judge to be permanently removed since 2004.

The disciplinary decision in Brown’s case cannot be appealed, and the court did not place any time limits on Brown’s ineligibility to serve as a judge. That means she is, effectively, permanently barred from holding judicial office.

The court did not suspend Brown’s law license, and she will be able to work as an attorney. * * *

Brown has been on a paid suspension since Jan. 9 and has filed to run in the Democratic primary in May for the party’s nomination to seek re-election. The party has slated another candidate for her post. Whether Brown’s name would remain on the primary ballot was unclear Tuesday. * * *

All five Supreme Court justices concurred with the decision to bar Brown from judicial office, but Justice Robert Rucker argued in a separate opinion that the court’s goal of preserving the integrity of the judicial system could be achieved by suspending Brown for 60 days without pay, then staying her removal for one year, during which she would be on supervised probation. He noted the charges against Brown did not involve “acts of moral depravity,” and neither the court nor the commission found that she had engaged in “willful misconduct in office.”

During the probationary period, Rucker wrote, “(Brown) would carry the burden of demonstrating that she has the capacity to manage her court efficiently and effectively. A failure to do so would result in a probation violation and immediate removal from office.”

The Supreme Court order noted Brown was not a novice judge and that her misconduct occurred as part of her official duties.

“It violated multiple Rules of Judicial Conduct, and much of it prejudiced the administration of justice. It was not singular, isolated, or limited to a particular subset of cases or persons. It was often repeated or continuing in nature.

“This misconduct not only displayed a lack of dignity, courtesy and patience required of judges, but it also negatively affected parties, court staff and others interested in the efficient operation of the criminal justice system,” the order said. * * *

The Supreme Court order noted that Brown’s “pattern of neglect, hostility, retaliation and recalcitrance toward investigating officials indicates an unwillingness or inability on her part to remedy deficiencies.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 5, 2014 09:28 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions