Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Reprimand For Judge's Response To State Trooper Stop

The Ohio Supreme Court has reprimanded a judge for invoking her judicial status when stopped by a state trooper.

Williams was appointed as a magistrate of the Highland County Court of Common Pleas, General Division, on July 14, 1997, and on April 1, 2015, she was appointed as a magistrate of that court’s probate and juvenile divisions.

The parties stipulate that on July 9, 2016, at approximately 3:30 a.m., an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper stopped Williams on State Route 32 in Union Township, Clermont County, Ohio, after observing her vehicle drift to the left of the solid white fog line. The trooper asked Williams to step out of her vehicle and inquired about how much she had had to drink; she stated that she had two beers. When the trooper began to administer the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, Williams stated, “I’m a magistrate.” In response, the trooper asked Williams where she was a magistrate, and she replied, “Highland County.” Then, the trooper told her that he had to make sure that she was not driving while intoxicated.

Minutes later, when the trooper was instructing Williams on the walk-and- turn field sobriety test, she told him, “I’m a judge. My son’s a Secret Service officer. I would not be driving drunk.” After the trooper handcuffed her and informed her that she did not pass the field sobriety test, she said, “Please! I’m a judge. Don’t do this to me. I did not flunk this. I didn’t flunk it!” Seconds later, when Williams was in the back seat of the trooper’s cruiser, she said, “Sir, I’m going to lose my job! Please let me speak to my attorney. Officer! Officer, listen to me! I may lose my job. Would you please let me speak to my attorney in the car? Please?” She then repeated, “I’m a judge. My son’s a Secret Service officer.”

The judge pleaded guilty to reckless driving and was cooperative in the process. The parties stipulated to the misconduct. (Mike Frisch)


Bar Discipline & Process, Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink


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