June 4, 2010
The Indiana Supreme Court reversed a conviction for driving while suspended and ordered a new trial because the defendant had been denied an impartial bench trial. The defendant decided that she wanted to accept a plea bargain after the first witness was called. The trial court "exhibited impatience" and told the defendant that if she was found guilty, "she's going to jail for a year." Then:
I don't know if I want to take your plea. I'd rather just go to trial, I think. I don't like being jerked around at all, all right?
When defense counsel reminded the judge at sentencing that unrelated pending charges were only allegations:
Sure they are.
The court here found that the trial court's conduct did not meet standards of Indiana Judicial Conduct Canon 2. (Mike Frisch)
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