On Monday, July 10, 2023, the Daily Reporter reported that Hancock County Superior Court judge D.J. Davis, who was publicly admonished by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications of the State of Indiana for making statements unbecoming of a judicial officer, said that he takes full responsibility for comments he made using profanity surrounding an incident involving the arrest of his son last year.

In a report by AbusiveDiscretionit was stated that Davis received an admonishment from the commission for making inappropriate remarks while at the Greenfield Police Department during an incident involving his son. The incident occurred on June 21, 2022, when the officers were assigned to oversee the removal of personal belongings by his son’s wife. While he did not impede the officers’ duties, Judge Davis engaged in conversation with them and also responded to comments made by another person present regarding his son’s marriage.

The report states:

“Specifically, Judge Davis said, “Why don’t you be a *****, you don’t know what the f*** is going on here” and “You don’t know what’s going on, shut up, you don’t have a clue.” At the time Judge Davis made these statements, he was on the front lawn of the residence in an area where others could and did overhear his remarks.”

The report states:

“Judge Davis acknowledged that he violated the above-cited Rule and he expressed deep remorse for his behavior and offered, as a mitigating factor, the influence of his prescribed medication on his usual judgment. In admonishing Judge Davis, the Commission stressed that Davis was admonished because of the injudicious nature of his comments in public to a third party. The Commission further notes that judges should exercise caution when appearing at emotionally charged scenes, particularly if there are challenges to maintaining an appropriate demeanor.”

In relation to the incident and his discipline, Judge Davis issued an apology statement to the Daily Reporter, acknowledging his intention to apologize to the residents of Hancock County. He stated, “This incident occurred over a year ago, during the time when I was on medical leave from the bench,” Davis continued, “I had just completed my second back surgery in three weeks and had taken several legally prescribed narcotics to manage my pain.”

In his statement, Davis affirmed that he conducted himself appropriately upon arriving at his son’s marital residence, acknowledging his awareness of his son’s arrest and departure from the scene. Videos revealed that the issue arose when Davis responded with offensive remarks to a neighbor who had shouted about his son’s predicament. Judge Davis stated, “My medications affected my judgment when I interacted with a third party, while it does not excuse my behavior, I have not taken those medications since August of last year.”

According to the officials, Davis cooperated with the investigation, acknowledged his violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and apologized for making statements that were unbecoming of his judicial role. To provide reassurance to the public, Judge Davis affirmed, “I accept full responsibility for my remarks.”

The admonishment highlighted that prior to the incident, Judge Davis had consumed a number of legally prescribed narcotics to alleviate pain following his second back surgery within a three-week period. Nevertheless, the commission emphasized the need for judges to exercise caution when attending emotionally charged situations, particularly when there are potential challenges to maintaining an appropriate demeanor.

Source: Daily Reporter