Legal Ethics

Mo. Judge Who Had Clerks Handle Call While on Vacation in China Is Suspended with Pay From $109K Job

A Missouri judge whose clerk was known among lawyers as “Judge Whitney” because she performed so much work for her boss, including reportedly handling associate Circuit Judge Barbara Peebles’ call while she was on vacation in China last year, has been suspended with pay.

Peebles has also been recommended for removal from the bench in a report (PDF) filed Thursday by the Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline of the Missouri Supreme Court, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The judge’s paid suspension from her $109,366-a-year job began Friday.

The last time a judge was removed from the bench in Missouri was in 1993, the newspaper says.

Attorney Paul D’Agrosa represents the 52-year-old judge. He said Peebles will appeal and ask for oral argument before the state supreme court.

“While we respect the commission’s findings, we don’t agree,” D’Agrosa told the newspaper. “We do not nor have we ever believed that any of the conduct warrants removal. And we still don’t believe there was misconduct other than that she’s already admitted to … publicly commenting on a pending case.”

Earlier coverage: “As Judge Vacationed in China, Clerks Issued Warrants and Continuances” “Clerks’ Claimed Handling of Call During China Trip Creates Trouble for Judge”

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