Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Mississippi Supreme has suspended a justice court judge for 30 days without pay for a conflict between her judicial duties and private law practice. The judge issued a warrant for the arrest of an ex-husband on charges of kidnapping his own child while representing the ex-wife in ongoing litigation. The affidavit of the ex-wife was the basis for the warrant.
The court rejected a proposal by the judge and Commission on Judicial Performance for a non-suspensory sanction:
After conducting an independent inquiry and giving careful consideration to the joint motion for approval of recommendations and the supporting brief, we are unable to agree with the recommendation of the Commission. Because Judge Bustin abused the power of her office, acted as judge in a matter involving one of her own clients, and has engaged in similar misconduct in the past, we order a thirty-day suspension from office without pay in addition to the recommended sanctions.
The judge does not intend to seek reelection. (Mike Frisch)