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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Judge Dehn on judicial ethics stats

A recent article in the Star Tribune focused on the spate of ethics complaints against Dakota County judges, but there was no comment from the Board on Judicial Standards or its chair, 10th Judicial District Judge James Dehn.

Dehn recently pointed out to Minnesota Lawyer that the board’s most recent report shows that about one in every 1,200 cases handled by a judge generates any contact with the board. Furthermore, the board received 127 written complaints last year compared to the approximately 2.06 million cases handled by judges. Thirty-five judges were asked to respond in writing regarding alleged misconduct, and no public reprimands were issued.

However, Dehn issued a slight disclaimer about his statistics: “There are three types of judges out there. Those who can add and those who cannot.” (Same for lawyers and journalists, I might add ... er say.)

Cases involving the alleged fixing of tickets by two Dakota County judges are under advisement and a public reprimand was issued against a third judge in the county, William Thuet, who agreed to it. Thuet was charged with inappropriately accepting a guilty plea to a DWI involving a former neighbor and procuring the same woman’s release from custody on another occasion.

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