Friday, January 13, 2023
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended a judge for one week without pay
We find that Respondent—the Honorable Jeffrey F. Meade, Judge of the Gibson Circuit Court—engaged in judicial misconduct by making intemperate comments from the bench; by holding an off-the-record, unrecorded child-in-need-of-services (“CHINS”) hearing in which he ruled on various substantive motions; and by failing to provide all parties to those CHINS proceedings with sufficient notice, an opportunity to be heard, and an opportunity to fairly participate in the hearing. Not only were Respondent’s actions prejudicial to the administration of justice in those specific cases, but they also damaged the public’s confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary more generally. For the reasons set forth below, we agree with the parties that Respondent’s misconduct warrants a seven-day unpaid suspension from office.
During the November 2019 hearing and a hearing in May 2021, Respondent also made disparaging statements to and about the parties, including:
• Telling Father to “be quiet,” “zip it,” to “shut [his] mouth,” and to “shut up,” even after Father apologized and indicated he understood.
• Referring to Father as “Bud,” “Buddy,” “Bro,” and “Man.”
• “And then what you don’t have is, see, you don’t have the child being passed off like a football. Oh, I’ll pick—let me run for ten yards with it because I don’t want that child to go over ten extra— over ten extra yards, and then the handoff.”
• “This is just bullshit. I’m sorry, I’m a farm boy. I was raised—I’m older than you. I was scooping hog shit long before you, man. I’m going to tell you what, this is crap. It stinks. This kind of behavior stinks. Okay?”
• “Now, I’m not playing with this. Okay? This is the 10th freaking day of this hearing. Okay? And again I’m not prejudging nothing. I’m going to hear this case out and we’ll let the attorneys do their findings. Okay? But I’m going to tell you what, you best be calling daddy up to get some money coming, I’m telling you that right now, because you have intentionally interfered with this woman’s parenting time. Okay? And it’s going to cost you a bundle. Okay?”
• “This is one of the most egregious, okay, egregious interference of parenting time that I’ve ever seen. Okay? You do not follow my order again you bring your toothbrush, you’re going to be over there for days and weeks and months. Is this crystal for you, man?”