Friday, March 11, 2011

PRESS RELEASES Indiana Courts- County Payment of Legal Fees- Judge Raymond Kern

PRESS RELEASES Indiana Courts- Judge Raymond Kern
Regarding county payment of legal fees.

June 28, 2002
The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed disciplinary charges today against Lawrence Superior Court Judge Raymond L. Kern.
Judge Kern currently is suspended from office with pay pending an earlier recommendation from the Commission that he be removed from the bench due to charges filed last year. Today’s charges include five counts of alleged judicial misconduct. In Count I Judge Kern is accused of taking judicial action to advance his own interests by issuing orders to the Lawrence County Auditor for the county to pay over $23,000.00 in legal fees to the judge’s attorneys who defended him in the prior disciplinary case. The Commission also alleges the orders were misleading because Judge Kern indicated in the orders that the attorneys had been “appointed” to defend him
In Count II, Judge Kern is accused of falsely advising county officials in an appropriation request for $39,500.00 to pay his defense bill that the county had been obligated to pay the fees, and of falsely advising the Qualifications Commission that the county was obligated to pay the legal fees because of an earlier agreement with county officials. The Commission asserts no agreement had ever been made.

In Count III, Judge Kern is accused of submitting claims to the county for reimbursement of mileage expenses for two court employees for travel between Indianapolis and Lawrence County to take part in the Commission’s prior disciplinary case when the Commission already had reimbursed the employees.

In Count IV, in connection with Judge Kern’s federal Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, the Commission alleges Judge Kern committed misconduct by hearing several cases involving his creditors and failing to inform the opposing parties of his financial involvement with the creditors, some of whom filed claims in the bankruptcy and suffered losses as a result, and to one of whom Judge Kern had missed several payments and had issued checks written with insufficient funds

These allegations of misconduct relate to a rule of judicial ethics forbidding a judge from engaging in financial dealings that may be perceived to exploit the judge’s position, which involve the judge in frequent transactions with lawyers or others who appear in the judge’s court, or which tend to reflect adversely on the judge’s impartiality

In Count V, Judge Kern is charged with making a false statement to the Commission when he said he did not miss any payments to his creditors. The Commission alleges Judge Kern missed approximately 32 payments between January 2000 and August 2001

Judge Kern may respond to these charges within 20 days, after which the Supreme Court will appoint a panel of three judges to preside over a hearing on the Commission’s allegations.

August 22, 2002

Commission, Judge Kern Resolve Charges by Resignation

The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted an agreement between the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications and Judge Raymond L. Kern, Lawrence Superior Court #1, which resolves all pending disciplinary charges against the judge and includes his resignation from the bench effective August 31, 2002.

In May, 2001, the Commission filed ethics charges against Judge Kern resulting from an Order he issued awarding temporary custody of a child to the child's step-father without notice to the mother or her attorney. In February, 2002, a panel of three judges presided over a trial on those charges and concluded that the judge had violated the Code of Judicial Conduct in issuing the Order and that some of his statements during the investigation and at trial were untrue. The Masters recommended to the Supreme Court that it suspend the judge from office without pay for up to 15 days. The Commission argued he should be removed from office permanently.

In June, 2002, the Commission filed a new five-count charge of misconduct against Judge Kern alleging he misled Lawrence County officials and the Commission in his attempt to have the county pay his legal fees from the first case, that he submitted travel claims on behalf of two employees for their travels to Indianapolis as Commission witnesses in the first case
when the Commission already had reimbursed them for their travel, that he continued to preside over cases involving financial institutions who were creditors in his bankruptcy proceeding and did not disclose that fact to the other parties, and that he falsely stated to the Commission that he never missed a payment to any of his creditors. Judge Kern denied misconduct on these Charges.

In their agreement, which the Supreme Court accepted, the Commission and Judge Kern agreed that the judge committed misconduct as found by the Masters in the first case, that the Court will assess against Judge Kern the costs of the prosecution of the first case, that the charges in the second case now are moot, that Judge Kern resigns as judge effective August 31, 2002, and that he agrees to neither seek nor hold any judicial office in Indiana or to serve in any judicial capacity in Indiana in the future.

Judge Kern is represented by Kevin McGoff


Anonymous said...

Well i gess we will see on the 15th what the commissioners have to say about it. From what i read Neganard mislead the commissioners. And that would be theft.

Anonymous said...

I don't have much faith in these three commissioners to solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

Thay will figure out a way to make it look lagit. Even if it's not that's how it work's. I hope i am wrong but i don't htink i am. McHenry alredy ask if it could just be payed back if there was a problem. I gess we will see.