Tag Archives: Judicial Performance

Who Judges the Judges?

The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance was created in 1979 by the Mississippi Legislature, and voters, by constitutional amendment to enforce judicial standards.

It was created for the following purpose:

All proceedings before the Commission are of a civil nature, not criminal, as the​ purpose of the Commission is to be rehabilitative and educational, as well as disciplinary.

What is judicial misconduct?

Actual conviction of a felony in a court other than a Mississippi court; willful misconduct in office; willful and persistent failure to perform his duties; habitual intemperance in the use of alcohol or other drugs; conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute; physical or mental disability seriously interfering with the performance of duties and such disability is or is likely to become permanent; any willful violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct; and any violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct as adopted by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Some examples of judicial misconduct include abuse of contempt power, failure to disqualify when required by law, ex parte communication, and improper demeanor.

Who can file a complaint?

Any citizen, litigant, attorney, law enforcement official, judge, public official, or other individual who has knowledge of possible judicial misconduct may file a complaint with the Commission. Complaints may also be filed anonymously. Additionally, the Commission may file a complaint on its own motion based upon matters it learns of in other ways, such as from mass media and information obtained during the course of an investigation.

What information should I submit with my complaint?

You may attach any documentation and/or evidence you believe may be pertinent, such as court documents, witness statements, correspondences, audio/video tapes, etc. Please do not send originals. Additionally, please include the names of any witnesses that may be able to substantiate the allegations contained in your complaint.

Matthew Thompson is Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and believes all persons within our legal system are subject to accountability.

Mississippi Judge Suspended 30 Days.

Chancellor David Shoemake of the 13th Chancery District, including; Covington, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Simpson and Smith counties, has been suspended 30 days from the bench, fined $2,500, assessed $5,882.67 in costs and shall be publicly reprimanded in open Court by the Presiding Judge of the Simpson County Circuit Court on the first day of the next term of that Court.

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Judge Shoemake was embroiled in conduct that lead to Chancellor Joe Dale Walker pleading guilty to witness tampering and being sentenced to 5 months in prison. Walker was accused of essentially self-dealing by helping a relative get a bid to build a home for a party that was before his Court, and increasing the bid and disbursing other funds. Shoemake signed 5 Orders regarding the monies, after same was transferred by Walker to him so Walker could avoid the appearance of impropriety, before it was transferred back to Walker by Shoemake.

A prior blog, citing a Judicial Performance investigation, included that Shoemake intentionally lied about signing the Orders. JPC recommended that Shoemake be permanently removed from the bench. However, the Mississippi Supreme Court said not so fast.

The Mississippi Supreme Court reviewed the pleadings, records and transcripts of depositions and found that JPC did not demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that Shoemake willfully mislead Judicial Performance (JPC) in his testimony regarding the Orders. Ultimately, Shoemake admitted to signing the Orders, but his testimony was unclear initially when asked if he signed all the Orders and exactly how things transpired. Upon having his recollection refreshed, having the benefit of reviewing the pleadings and the Orders, he did admit to signing the Orders in question. Due to the clarigfications in Shoemake’s testimony the MS Sup. Ct. disagreed with the JPC recommendation of removal and determined to suspend Judge for 30 days for lack of diligent oversight.

You can read the Opinion for yourself here. CO111052

Judicial Performance is asking the Supreme Court to reconsider.

The allegations regarding Jude Shoemake are limited to his on-the-bench conduct regarding oversight of the ward and convservatorship and whether same was a violation of the Cannons of Judicial Ethics. Shoemake did not benefit himself from the handling of this matter and is not accused of self-dealing nor criminal conduct.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the websiteThompson Law Firm You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

 

Update: Mississippi Judge Pleads GUILTY

As an update from a prior blog, former Mississippi Chancery Judge Joe Dale Walker, has pleaded guilty to Federal charges.

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Walker, formerly of the 13th Chancery Court district which includes; Covington, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Simpson and Smith counties, was on suspension by the Mississippi Supreme Court for his on-the-bench conduct. He pleaded guilty this week to federal charges that included that he instructed a federal grand jury witness to destroy documents and then lied to FBI agents about it.

According to the FBI, Walker directed an attorney (the witness) he had appointed for a Conservatorship to solicit bids for the construction of a home for the ward. Of the bids obtained, one was from the Judge’s nephew.  The Judge reviewed the bids in his office and instructed his nephew to increase his bid. Walker then transferred the case to the other Judge in the district for the limited purpose of accepting and approving the bid because of his nephew’s involvement. After the contract was awarded to Walker’s nephew, the case was transferred back to Walker by the second Judge.

Walker, knowing that a Grand Jury subpoena was outstanding for information concerning the bidding process, spoke with the witness about instructing his nephew to increase his bid and the original bid and any existing copies.

When interviewed by the FBI, Walker denied  talking with the witness about his nephew’s  bids and denied telling the witness that the original low bid needed to be “somewhere else.”

U.S. District Judge David C. Bramlette III will sentence Walker Jan. 8. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/7/ex-chancery-judge-joe-dale-walker-pleads-guilty/#ixzz3Ff16e0Ll

The Judge’s suspension, resignation, and guilty plea were a result of the joint efforts of the Mississippi Judicial Performance Committee and the FBI- Public Corruption Unit.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and warns you to NOT lie to the FBI!

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms.

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