Sunday, July 18, 2010

Young in Trouble

By Jon E. Easter

Marion Superior Court Judge Bill Young has found himself in some hot water over his work as the Traffic Court Judge here in Marion County.

The Indianapolis Star published this article about Young and his allegedly questionable conduct on the bench that has resulted in FOUR misconduct charges from the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications.

The Star's John Tuohy writes:
The commission found fault with Young's comments toward Christian Hollinsworth when he sentenced her for driving with a suspended license.

Young "exhibited impatience and frustration with Hollinsworth and her attorney and made sarcastic remarks" at her court hearing, the commission found.

On June 3, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed Hollinsworth's conviction and ordered a new trial, saying Young's behavior fell short of judicial code ethical standards.

Among other complaints against Young, the commission found that he imposed tougher sentences against defendants who chose to go to trial, gave out a standard sentence to defendants who lost at trial instead of considering their cases individually, and tried to coerce defendants into admitting guilt, sometimes with misstatements about the burden of proof.

According to Tuohy, Young will now face a three-judge panel in a public hearing and could be tossed from the bench by the Indiana Supreme Court.

Young isn't the only Marion Superior Court Judge to face trouble in the last few years. Judge Grant Hawkins received a 60-day unpaid suspension last year after it was determined his office botched the release (for almost two years) of a man who had his conviction set aside by a commissioner in Hawkins' court.

Both cases aren't the same, and they, in fact, would seem to differ wildly. In these two cases, in my view, the separating factor seems to be the conduct of the judges.

While Hawkins' poor handling of that release is inexcusable, it appears that it was just an awful logistical error. Young appears, to me, to have other issues.

Whatever the case, the public's trust of the judicial system isn't probably the best, and these charges against Young do nothing to restore it.


Paul K. Ogden said...

"Right leaning blogger Paul Ogden is the attorney that has been pushing the complaint against Young on behalf of a woman that was allegedly too harshly sentenced by Young."

This isn't quite accurate, Jon. First to be clear I didn't file any disciplinary complaint against Judge Young and I had nothing to do with the action involving the woman who got the harsh sentence from Judge Young for driving while suspended.

My lawsuit that got a lot of publicity is a class action involving Judge Young fining people an additional sum when they asked for a trial (and lost..which everyone does) as well as other goings on at the court such as their locking the door on people, keeping them confined for hours and not letting them use the bathroom or take medicaiton.

Jon E. Easter said...

My apologies Paul.

Jon E. Easter said...

I have removed that sentence from the post.