Baton Rouge judge suspended for abusing power

Business Law

The Louisiana Supreme Court has suspended a Baton Rouge judge without pay for 180 days for abusing her power to hold people in contempt.

East Baton Rouge Parish Family Court Judge Charlene Charet Day, who has held the seat since 2011, violated the law when she issued a bench warrant that resulted in a teacher being arrested at the school where she works, the high court ruled Friday.

The Louisiana Judiciary Commission, which investigates complaints of judicial conduct, recommended the six-month suspension in July, finding that Day violated rules of conduct and committed “willful misconduct” when she locked up litigants for contempt of court. Day was directed to pay the commission a $6,260 fine.

The justices unanimously agreed that a suspension was warranted, though one thought a less-severe penalty was required, The Advocate reported.

“Judge Day’s conduct harmed the integrity of and respect for the judiciary,” Justice William Crain wrote in the prevailing opinion. “When a judge abuses the immense power to deprive a person of their liberty, it has a profound effect on public confidence in the judiciary.”

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