On Thursday, October 20, 2022, the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed the decision to remove Daviess County Family Court Judge Julia Hawes Gordon from office. The case is styled as ‘In the Matter of Judge Gordon’ with case number #2022-SC-0171-RR.

In April 2022, the Judicial Conduct Commission (JCC) ruled to remove Judge Gordon from the bench for allegedly destroying evidence and calling the presiding judge when her son was charged with assaulting her. The JCC also alleged that Judge Gordon made parents and their kids appear in court after midnight, gave inexperienced office workers the task of testing defendants for drugs, and then kept the results in the refrigerator where they keep their lunch.

The JCC stated:

“This case does not involve one or two isolated occurrences, but instead involves Judge Gordon’s pattern of misconduct and her repeated exercise of extremely poor judgment and her engagement in profoundly unwise action — on and off the Bench — that continued for years… Judges should maintain the dignity of judicial office at all times, and avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and personal lives. They should aspire at all times to conduct that ensures the greatest public confidence in their independence, impartiality, integrity, and competence.”

The JCC determined that Judge Gordon committed judicial misconduct as charged in five of the six counts against her and ordered that she be removed from office.

In May 2022, Judge Gordon filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, claiming that the commission failed to consider Marsy’s Law, the constitutional amendment that provides rights to crime victims.

In a 47-page opinion, the Supreme Court affirmed JCC’s decision, stating that they find no error warranting reversal of the Commission’s final order.

The opinion states:

“In her appeal, Judge Gordon raises several arguments regarding the applicability of Marsy’s Law, admissibility and sufficiency of the evidence, and whether removal was warranted. In proceedings before the Commission, charges must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. SCR 4.160. On appeal, we “must accept the findings and conclusions of the [C]ommission unless they are clearly erroneous; that is to say, unreasonable.”

The opinion provided in-depth responses to all of Judge Gordon’s claims and repeatedly stated that many of the JCC’s findings are supported by “clear and convincing evidence.”

The opinion concludes:

“Based on Judge Gordon’s numerous violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, we hold that the sanction of removal was appropriate.

Based on the foregoing, the Judicial Conduct Commission’s Final Order is affirmed.”

A copy of the original filing can be found here.