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Friday, August 29, 2008

Judge Blakely facing discipline charges

It appears that Goodhue County District Court Judge Tim Blakely is in hot water with the Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards.

According to news reports, Blakely faces discipline for getting a huge discount on his divorce bill after sending business to his lawyer. The board’s complaint says the judge got a $63,503 markdown on his bill after he began appointing his attorney, Christine Stroemer, as the mediator in cases he oversaw as a judge. The board contends that Blakely’s actions violated the judicial canons requiring judges to preserve the integrity and independence of the judiciary as well as avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Blakely denies any wrongdoing and points out that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman's office reviewed the board’s contentions and declined to prosecute him.

The Minnesota Supreme Court will ultimately determine whether there is cause for discipline, but it seems to me at least that whether or not the judge actually meant do anything wrong, his actions just don’t pass the smell test.

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