Friday, August 20, 2010
A district judge has been reprimanded by the Nebraska Supreme Court for conduct deemed prejudicial to the administration of justice. The judge dismissed a traffic case (against a defendant named Stormi Craig) when the police officer failed to appear for trial. After a chambers conference with counsel, the dismissal was put on the record in open court. The police officer was held in contempt, resulting in an administrative hearing against him.
In closing arguments in the administrative case, the police officer's counsel suggested that the deputy county attorney who handled the traffic matter was "very comfortable sitting in [the judge's] chambers and going forward with a contempt charge against [the police officer]." The deputy county attorney felt that the argument "crossed the line" and told the judge.
The judge called the police officer's attorney and accused him of making a false accusation. The judge requested that the attorney apologize publicly via the local newspaper (the Crete News) or face an ethics complaint. The reprimand was for the phone call. (Mike Frisch)