Nov 30 2011
We blogged over the summer about Marion Superior Court Judge Rebekah Pierson-Tracey, who came under scrutiny and was subjected to public outcry for a re-election campaign flyer that appeared to equate financial donations with favorable rulings – suggesting campaign contributions of $150 for ‘Sustained’, $250 for ‘Affirmed’, $500 for ‘So Ordered’, and $1,000 for ‘Favorable Ruling’.
According to the Indiana Business Journal, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications formally admonished judge Pierson-Tracey this week. The admonishment states that “the judge and her husband, Marion County Democratic Party Chair Ed Treacy, reviewed and authorized the flyer prior to mailing.”
The article reports that an investigation by the judicial disciplinary commission found that Judge Pierseon-Tracey “violated both Rule 1.2 and 4.2(A)(1) of the state’s judicial code of conduct, which require judges to act in a manner that promotes the public’s confidence in the judiciary and in a way that maintains the independence, integrity and impartiality of the third branch.” But the admonishment concludes the disciplinary matter, and no misconduct charges will be officially filed.
It’s interesting that a campaigning judicial candidate should be so unabashed about connecting campaign donations to favorable outcomes in court cases. The admonishment notes that “there is no evidence the judge intended to barter rulings for contributions,” and of course there wouldn’t be – but Pierson-Tracey’s flyer is suggestive of how cynical the judiciary may be becoming about the perception that justice is for sale. It’s time to explore other options for selecting our judges.Tags: admonishment, justice for sale, Marion, Rebecca Pierson-Tracey