Friday, January 26, 2018
The Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications has publicly reprimanded a judge for his actions in connection with an alleged violation of probation.
The defendant was on probation for reckless driving and was required to abstain from alcohol.
When a hearing was scheduled for alleged drinking, the case was called but the defendant was not in the courtroom. A person identified as the defendant's aunt told the judge that he was "passed out in the car" after drinking all night and had "downed a bottle of tequila" and that she (the aunt) was unable to get him to the courtroom.
Fifteen minutes later, the defendant was "brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair" and the case was recalled.
The judge took a guilty plea to the probation violation and had the defendant taken into custody where he tested a .4 blood alcohol content.
The judge knew or should have known that he was "probably too intoxicated" to enter a knowing and voluntary plea.
When the news reported the actions, the judge permitted the defendant to withdraw the plea and vacate the sentence.
That offer was declined. (Mike Frisch)