On Monday, July 3, 2023, the Commission on Judicial Qualifications of the State of Indiana publicly admonished Hancock Superior Court 1 Judge Donald Jack (D.J.) Davis, instead of proceeding with the formal disciplinary proceedings for making statements unbecoming of a judicial officer.

Judge Davis acknowledged his violation of Rule 1.2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which requires:

Judges to act at all times in a manner that promotes the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

According to the court document, Davis has been admonished by the Commission for making inappropriate comments during a Greenfield Police Department that involved his son. The incident took place on June 21, 2022, in which the officers were dispatched to oversee the removal of personal property by his son’s wife. Although he didn’t obstruct the officers’ tasks, Judge Davis conversed with them. Additionally, he addressed remarks made by a third individual present at the location concerning his son’s marriage.

The filing 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 filing continues:

“Additionally, Judge Davis’ comments were captured on the GPD officers’ body cameras. Just prior to the incident, Judge Davis had taken several legally prescribed narcotics to manage pain resulting from his second back surgery in three weeks.”

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.

Judge Donald Jack Davis attended Indiana University School of Law, graduating in 1997. His courtroom is located at 9 E Main Street Room 303, Greenfield, IN 46140 and he can be reached at 317-477-1148. His info can be found on LinkedIn.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.