On Friday, May 17, 2024, The Herald Bulletin reported that the Indiana Supreme Court suspended Madison County Division 5 Judge Scott Norrick for 45 days without pay. The suspension will take effect on June 3rd. One of the justices on the high court objected to the agreement, feeling that more severe discipline was warranted given the misconduct.

The Supreme Court found that Judge Norrick’s actions constituted serious misconduct, just short of what would merit being removed from office entirely. Misconduct of this nature has led to judges being permanently banned from holding a judicial position in the past, according to the court.

During his 45-day suspension, one of Madison County’s other six judges or a magistrate will assume responsibility for Judge Norrick’s caseload in Circuit Court 5.

The disciplinary charges against Judge Norrick were filed in February by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications. The commission alleged that between January 2021 and March 2023, 40 criminal cases in his court were missing required case entries and court orders. Norrick was first elected as judge in 2020.

The commission stated that Judge Norrick had been informed on multiple occasions by his fellow judges and the county prosecutor’s office about delays of up to 5 weeks in finalizing case entries and orders in criminal matters due to backlogs in his court reporter’s work. Additionally, an electronic order signed by Judge Norrick improperly transferred custody of a child to one parent without notification to the other parent or a required hearing.

The Supreme Court ruling emphasized that Judge Norrick’s “actions and inactions” from the start of his term in office undermined the administration of justice and public trust in the judiciary. Dozens of alleged victims, witnesses, and defendants saw their cases dismissed or delayed due to his failure to properly manage entries, set trial dates, and record hearing outcomes through his staff. While Judge Norrick accepted responsibility and pledged additional training to prevent future issues, the state high court still found his misconduct merited over a month’s suspension without pay.

 

 

Source: The Herald Bulletin