Trials & Litigation
NC Judge Faces Legal Ethics Case, Accused of Fixing Tickets for Friends, Church Members
Posted May 31, 2011 1:22 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
A judge in North Carolina is facing a legal ethics case for allegedly fixing tickets for her friends and fellow members of her church.
Forsyth County District Court Judge Denise Hartsfield is to appear before the state Judicial Standards Commission for a September hearing, reports the Winston-Salem Journal.
In a statement of charges, the commission accuses Hartsfield of allowing "social and other relationships to influence her judicial conduct or judgment." Court staff also allegedly put some cases on her docket in which she entered favorable judgments without requiring either the defendant or a defense attorney to appear in court, the statement alleges.
Hartsfield denied that she did anything wrong. She said she routinely dismissed cases if a defendant charged with driving without a valid license had one by the time the case came to her court and didn't impose punishment in non-alcohol-related traffic cases if defendants couldn't afford to pay fines or fees.