Monday, June 1, 2009
An Arkansas Circuit Court judge is the subject of a proposed removal from the bench. According to the report from KSLA 12:
A panel of the state committee that disciplines judges has recommended that Circuit Judge L.T. Simes III of Phillips County be removed from office. The panel says Simes (Sims) showed "a fundamental lack of knowledge of substantive law" or possibly committed perjury over an estate case he carried from his private practice into his time on the bench.
At a hearing last month, Simes said he had been fired from acting as administrator of an estate, but records show he billed for work on the case after he took office in 1997.
A three-person panel of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission recommended in a Friday filing that the full commission act to remove Simes from office.
The panel quoted Simes saying during the hearing that, "I would have done differently if I knew you were watching."
The panel said Simes' explanations, if true, "demonstrate a fundamental lack of knowledge of substantive law and the obligations of a circuit judge. If untrue, then the explanations constitute perjury. In either event, they are not worthy of belief."
The full nine-member commission meets next in April. That's the soonest the commission is likely to vote.
A woman answering the phone at Simes home Saturday evening said the judge was not available for comment.
The judge recently sought and received an ethics opinion from the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee concerning the propriety of his forming, along with his wife and son, a non-profit corporation (Holy Spirit 777, Inc.) to sell recordings of his gospel music and to use the proceeds for charitable purposes. The committee opined that the activity was permissible so long as he did not lend the prestige of his judicial office to the enterprize. He had removed the photos of himself in his judicial robe from the corporation's web page. (Mike Frisch)