Call 6's Kara Kenney's investigative reporting last year about former Center Township Small Claims Court Judge Michelle Scott using small claims court resources to promote her side business of performing wedding ceremonies led to a rules change that prohibited small claims courts from charging fees to couples to perform their wedding ceremonies using court facilities during the court's office hours. As a consequence of that investigation, Judge Scott resigned her position after the Judicial Qualifications Commission launched an investigation. Not everyone got the memo on the new courts rules apparently.
Kenney aired a new report last night in which her Call 6 investigation found that the Warren Township Small Claims Court of Judge Garland Graves was still charging couples an $80 fee to perform wedding ceremonies. Kenney tracked down Judge Graves for an interview, who admitted to the rules violation. "I was aware of the rule as proposed, but I was unaware the rule had been passed," Graves said. "There’s been a lot of rules changes since 2012." His court has subsequently refunded the fees it has been charging to couples since January 1 when the new rule went into effect. Kenney also found that the Wayne Township Small Claims court was handing out flyers advertising fee for service wedding ceremonies performed on weekends, a practice it quickly dropped when Kenney inquired about the practice.
Get paid from the taxpayers AND make some pocket money on the side- now isn't that a pretty good gig? A judge doesn't know the law... how inspiring. If I were a defendant before any bench and pled ignorance of the law I am willing to wager virtually any Judge would laugh me out of court and into the slammer. Another reason I have less than zero respect for "the law" [and just about any politician you can name] and for attorneys in general. We see corrupt Democrat and Republican attorneys and attorney firms prostitute the law they pledged to serve and uphold to instead serve themselves and their financial interests.
If I understood Kenney's report correctly, the township court was receiving the fees, not the judge personally.
In any event- the court receiving the fees or no- a Judge ignorant of laws passed should not be on any bench anywhere in the United States. Again, no wonder I despise the judicial system that has been corrupted by self-serving attorneys and bench seat holders. No justice and different outcomes for different people under the same "laws"....
It is time to implement the Commission on Local Government Reform's recommendation to eliminate township government.
It is unnecessary. It is corrupt.
From what I hear, Judge Graves is one of the few “Good Guys” out there. He’s well known for not letting the big guy trample all over the little guy, and I say we need more of that kind of Judge in Marion County.
I don’t see the big issue here. He collected a fee he thought was due the County. He forwarded the fee to the County, and he refunded the fee from the County to the licensees when he learned the County was not due the fee.
There was not a cent of personal enrichment here, and I’d say this matter makes Judge Graves look like a pretty good person.
I call bullshit on the "ignorance" excuse. Not only are judges required to obey the rules, they are advised of opinions and rules changes on a regular basis.
This reader will issue a finding of VIOLATION. Now the sanction must be given by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications.
I expect judges to stay up on the law the same way I expect my surgeon to be current on all the latest techniques.
To be a "professional" means staying up on what is going on your business - whatever it may be.
Did all the creditors' attorneys get a message to post on this blog because Judge Graves doesn't allow the shenanigans that used to occur in some Marion County Small Claims courts?
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