Friday, February 5, 2021

Double Dose Of Discipline For Bachelor Party Crimes

A part-time judge was subject to both bar and judicial discipline and has been suspended from his judicial office for two years with all but six months stayed by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The sanction was imposed retroactively to the date of the bar discipline.

In January 2017, Judge Hardee attended a bachelor party in Park City, Utah celebrating his upcoming wedding. He visited a local bar and consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, becoming extremely intoxicated. It is undisputed that he grabbed the buttocks of a waitress without her consent, Park City Police were called, he did not immediately produce identification, and he failed to cooperate with police at the scene.

Judge Hardee was charged with the following crimes, all misdemeanors under Utah law: (1) Sexual Battery, in violation of U.C.A. 76-9-702.1; (2) Failure to Disclose Identity, in violation of U.C.A. 76-8-301.5; (3) Interference with Arresting Officer, in violation of U.C.A. 76-8-305; and (4) Intoxication, in violation of U.C.A. 76-9-701. He pled no contest to these charges and has fully satisfied all terms and conditions of the plea.

He was sanctioned as an attorney

The consent discipline resulted in Judge Hardee being suspended from the practice of law for one year with all but six months deferred, followed by probation coinciding with the remainder of his JLAP monitoring agreement. If successfully completed, JLAP monitoring will end on December 5, 2022.

This matter involves judicial discipline and the extent of necessary supervision 

Judge Hardee disputes his diagnosis and the need for additional monitoring. He has executed a five-year JLAP monitoring agreement and, assuming he remains compliant, monitoring will end on December 5, 2022. Nevertheless, the Commission, which did not act on this matter until after the ODC and Judge Hardee agreed to attorney discipline, now recommends extending monitoring through December 31, 2026. We reject that recommendation.

But on the merits, not by res judicata as the judge had argued

While under the circumstances of this case we find it appropriate that the probation period for judicial discipline be co-extensive with that for Judge Hardee’s attorney discipline, we emphasize this is not required. We can impose additional discipline. In fact, in the event Judge Hardee violates the terms of his probation, he will be suspended for two years as a judge as opposed to one year as an attorney. However, we find the length of probation and JLAP monitoring imposed for attorney discipline and the fact that Judge Hardee has remained compliant with all terms of that discipline does not warrant either extension of the probation period or additional monitoring. Nevertheless, we feel constrained to express Judge Hardee’s argument for the application of res judicata has no merit.

Judge Hardee’s criminal acts in this case are more serious because he is a judge. The fact that he broke the law erodes the integrity of the judiciary and the public’s confidence in it. His conduct was clearly prejudicial to the administration of justice and has brought disrepute upon his judicial office.

Chief Justice Weimer

Expert medical evaluators, all chosen by respondent, have diagnosed the respondent with some form of substance abuse disorder. The respondent’s denial of those diagnoses through lay testimony and his own belief that he does not meet the diagnostic criteria for a substance abuse disorder is meritless.

While I commend the respondent for the strides he has made, I agree with the Judiciary Commission’s recommendation that the respondent be subjected to an extended period of JLAP monitoring. Accordingly, I would require the respondent to execute a new five-year agreement with JLAP. Accordingly, I respectfully I concur in part and dissent in part.

(Mike Frisch)

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


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