Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Bourne Sanction

The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered sanctions of a judge

Judge Bourne has served as a district judge since 2001. Recently, several complaints have been filed against Judge Bourne involving his conduct toward unrepresented litigants. This conduct includes demeaning comments toward Spanish-speaking defendants and negative comments to defendants who are not from Pope County (Count 1). Other complaints concerned Judge Bourne’s failure to conduct proper indigency determinations and failure to keep adequate records (Count 2)

The conduct was conceded

We suspend Judge Don Bourne from the bench without pay for ninety days, with seventy-five of those days held in abeyance if he completes or adheres to the agreed remedial measures, including, but not limited to:

• Spend the two-week suspension attending and observing other district court judges and write reflective reports on each visit;

• Obtain and maintain a digital-audio recorder in his courtrooms prior to the end of his suspension and preserve audio recordings of court proceedings;

• Allow the Commission to monitor his courtroom and allow access to staff and documents as needed;

• Attend an approved online judicial-ethics class; and

• Read a report and complete online training about bullying and harassment in the legal profession.

Additionally, Judge Don Bourne shall never again hold a judicial office after his current term expires. This court notes that in addition to the public signal that a suspension without pay sends, the suspension also imposes a financial penalty of several thousands of dollars in lost pay. The suspension will begin on August 16, 2022. The mandate shall issue immediately. Expedited petition granted; order of suspension without pay imposed; mandate to issue immediately.

(Mike Frisch)

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink


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