Legal Ethics

Shamed Judge Pleads to Keep His Job, Tells Top SD Court 'I'm Not Perfect But I Have Changed'

In a voice choked with emotion, a South Dakota judge today pleaded with the state’s top court to let him stay on the bench until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

“I’m not perfect, but I have changed,” said Circuit Judge A.P. “Pete” Fuller of Rapid City, who is accused of repeated rudeness to lawyers, parties and court staff. The ethics trial of the 68-year-old judge is the first time in the 121-year history of the state that its supreme court has been asked to remove a judge from the bench, reports the Associated Press.

Fuller said he is ashamed of his behavior on the bench and has gotten counseling during a six-month suspension to deal with his anger issues. However, a lawyer for the state Judicial Qualifications Commission argued that the judge needs to be removed or forced to retire to preserve public respect for the South Dakota court system.

Earlier coverage: “SD Judge Faces Potential Removal Over Alleged Rude and Racist Remarks and Use of the ‘Bird’”

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