GIBSON COUNTY — A southwestern Indiana judge could face disciplinary action stemming from charges of misconduct related to his handling of paternity and child in need of services cases.
Gibson Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey F. Meade is facing four charges brought on by the Indiana Commission of Judicial Qualifications, which investigates allegations of ethical misconduct by judges.
The charges outline instances in which Meade exhibited behavior that violated the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct.
Specifically, a notice of formal proceedings alleges that Meade used profanities against a father in child custody cases and made comments such as "be quiet", "zip it", and "shut up", despite the father apologizing and indicating that he understood.
In another instance, Meade said in court, "This is just bull (expletive)" and "I was scooping hog (expletive) long before you man. I'm going to tell you what, this is crap. It stinks. This kind of behavior stinks," the document alleges.
The document goes on to say that Meade on more than one occasion made comparisons between a mother and father's situation in a paternity case to that of his own divorce and custody proceedings.
Additionally, it says Meade "exhibited impatience" and "made undignified comments" by referring to a party as "bud", "buddy", "bro" and "man".
There is also mention of Meade conducting an off-record, unrecorded hearing in a child in need of services case in which he ruled on various substantive motions and failed to provide parties in a case the opportunity to fairly participate in proceedings.
He's facing a total of four counts. One of them is related to Meade's demeanor in a paternity case while the other three stem from his actions during that off-the-record hearing.
According to an email announcement, it is up to the Indiana Supreme Court to determine what judicial misconduct occurred, if any. The court may dismiss the charges, accept or reject a disciplinary agreement between the commission and Meade, appoint a panel of judges to conduct a public hearing, impose a fine or impose sanctions.
Should the court impose sanctions, they could include a reprimand, a suspension or a permanent ban from judicial office in Indiana.
Meade is permitted, but not required, to file an answer to the charges within 20 days.
Meade's office declined to comment on the matter. WRTV has reached out to an attorney representing him.
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