November 9, 2011
Proceed With Caution
The Minnesota Supreme Court has affirmed the dismissal of ethics charges against a district court judge.
The judge was accused by the Board of Judicial Standards of "creating an appearence of impropriety during an omnibus hearing in a DWI case. The Board asserts, among other things, that [the judge] ordered a criminal defense attorney to write a letter of apology for allegedly impugning the integrity of a police officer during the attorney's oral argument at the omnibus hearing."
The court affirmed findings below of insufficient evidence of an impropriety. The court also found that the judge's contact with the court reporter was not prohibited but that "a judge contacting a potential witness must proceed with considerable caution, particularly when contacting a subordinate employee."
The board had appealed the dismissal. (Mike Frisch)
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