Two Kentucky judges, in separate incidents, have received punishments for misconduct in recent days.
Kenton County judge suspended
From Link NKY:
Kenton County District Court Judge Ann Ruttle will be suspended for two weeks without pay in May after the Judicial Conduct Commission found she denied appointment of council to a defendant in 2021 who couldn’t afford one in a criminal case, according to court records.
It’s the second time she has been found to violate rules in Kentucky’s Code of Judicial Conduct that require those accused of crimes have an attorney to represent them. She was also suspended in April of 2021, according to court documents.
Christian County judge disciplined
From the Hoptown Chronicle:
Christian Circuit Judge John Atkins was disciplined Thursday with a public reprimand from the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission. The reprimand stems from two complaints. Atkins waived formal proceedings and agreed to the public reprimand, according to the report.
The commission said it investigated a complaint against Atkins for improperly contacting a police officer in a 2021 assault case. The prosecution had recommended the charge be dismissed.
“The police officer was not just a witness to the events in issue, he was the victim of the alleged assault by the defendant,” the judicial conduct panel wrote in its report. “During the sentencing hearing, Judge Atkins disclosed that he contacted the police officer and asked the officer about the facts supporting the assault charge. The police officer did not testify in court to these facts.
“Judge Atkins took the position, that as the ultimate fact finder, he had the prerogative to talk to or inquire of whomever he wanted and investigate matters independently as part of rendering a decision about disposition of the case.”
A second complaint against Atkins stemmed from his conduct during a trial for one of four defendants charged in connection with child abuse at the First United Methodist Church daycare.
“While the jury deliberated on the charges, Judge Atkins entered the gallery and spoke with the victim’s families and other members of the church,” the report states. “Specifically, Judge Atkins made comments to victims’ parents and members of the church, that security cameras should be required in daycare centers and that he should take it to the city commission.”