Friday, November 4, 2011
A judge who intervened in a criminal matter because of a personal interest has been suspended without pay for 30 days by the Mississippi Supreme Court. The court rejected the sanction of reprimand proposed by the Commission on Judicial Performance, although the court did impose reprimand in addition to the suspension.
WLOX13 (via the Associated Press) has this report:
The Mississippi Supreme Court has suspended Stone County Justice Court Judge Teresa Brown Dearman for 30 days without pay and ordered a public reprimand.
The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance in September recommended a reprimand for Dearman. The Supreme Court has the final say on judicial misconduct cases.
The commission cited Dearman for presiding over a criminal case involving her nephew, ordering defendants to attend church as a condition of their bond and discussing cases with parties outside the courtroom.
The Supreme Court in Thursday's 8-1 decision said this is the second time it had to deal with a complaint against Dearman so a harsher penalty was justified.
The dissent would hold that the court lacks the authority to impose sanctions not recommended by the commission. (Mike Frisch)