Friday, June 17, 2011

Judge Sanctioned In Part For Ordering Defendant To Attend Church As Condition of Bail

In Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Dearman, (MS Sup. Ct., June 16, 2011), the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered a public reprimand and a 30-day suspension without pay of a trial court judge who was charged with various instances of improper judicial conduct. One of the charges was that as a condition of bail for a defendant charged with possession of cocaine the judge required that the defendant attend church at least once a week. Justice Kitchens dissenting argued that the imposition of this condition may have been only an incorrect legal interpretation by the judge. If it was, that is not a basis for sanctions. [Thanks to Volokh Conspiracy for the lead.]