Jackson Judge Removed From Bench For "Judicial Misconduct"
Throughout his 34 years on the bench, Judge James Justin wrote off nine tickets for himself and his wife, along with several others for friends. But even before these cover-ups surfaced, Jackson's Chief Appellate Attorney Jerry Schrotenboer says a grievance was already being filed against him: "He was always a different kind of a judge. He would order a defendant to write an essay on something. The other judges didn't do that. He would ask, I remember once, a defendant to lose weight."
Eight counts of favoritism, alterations of court information, lying under oath and dismissing cases improperly are outlined in a 31 page opinion issued today by the state supreme court. The misconduct has spanned decades according to Schrotenboer: "I remember he was kind of doing that I think in the late 1980s and my office put up a stink about it, and I kind of thought he had stopped. But apparently, he had not."
Chief Judge Darryl Mazur tells us he tried to change Justin's behavior for years, stating: "I had removed certain privileges from him and his staff to access and enter court records into state and court data bases in an attempt to correct, or at least limit, this conduct...When it became apparent he had his own agenda and would not follow the directives agreed upon I asked the state court administrator to file the complaint."
After 25 years of working with Justin, Schrotenboer believes he is still a good man who simply chose the wrong profession: "He may have made some mistakes. He probably did in fact deserve to be removed, but he always meant well."
Justin's only responsibility now is to pay off all the fines which are long over-due. The remaining three judges hope to have a replacement for Justin as soon as March.