Friday, September 12, 2014

Jeezus Your Honour if you really feel the need to have a pee in public at least go hide behind a large tree!

Judge suspended for 2012 intoxication

Grant Rodgers
grodgers@dmr.com

Friday, September 12, 2014

(Photo: The Register)

A southern Iowa judge has been suspended without pay for 30 days after findings that she arrived for work at the Henry County Courthouse intoxicated and, in a separate incident, urinated on a street.

Fort Madison-based District Associate Judge Emily Dean was drinking a "colorless liquid" on May 9, 2012, while her court reporter was driving her from Fort Madison to Mount Pleasant, according to a ruling Friday from the Iowa Supreme Court. Dean fell asleep in the car and when she arrived at the courthouse an employee in the county attorney's office convinced her she could not work.

Later that day, Dean was taken to a hospital intensive care unit for "severe alcohol intoxication" and stayed for three days. The Iowa Commission on Judicial Qualifications suspended Dean the day after the incident so that the Iowa attorney general's office could conduct an investigation.

"On that day, Judge Dean did not promote public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and did not perform her duties competently or diligently," the Supreme Court's order said.

An investigation found other incidents, including a May 2012 report that a woman driving a car owned by Dean's husband had urinated in a public street. The resident who filed a complaint followed the car back to Dean's mother's residence; Dean admitted in a letter that she "could not remember what happened and could not deny" the report, according to the ruling.

Dean was allowed to go back to work in November 2012 after a hearing where Dean called a substance abuse counselor to testify about her progress in dealing with her alcoholism, according to the ruling. The counselor testified that Dean attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and her husband also testified that she'd made a "complete 180 degree turn" since the May incident.

In an application for discipline filed with the court, the commission on judicial qualifications asked for a three-month suspension for Dean. In its ruling, the Supreme Court noted that there were no previous complaints about the judge and that she'd made significant steps to deal with her alcoholism. "Judge Dean has confronted her disease and now has demonstrated a deep personal commitment to recovery," the ruling said. "She appears to have overcome the denial, recovered from the embarrassment, recognized the depth of the problem ... and most importantly has been able to establish the kind of supportive framework associated with successful recovery over a lifetime."

Elaine F. Gray, Dean's attorney, said the judge has been in recovery for over two years.

"The Supreme Court was tasked with entering a disciplinary order that didn't leave the public wondering whether they were protecting their own or otherwise giving preferential treatment to Judge Dean," Gray wrote in a statement.

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