Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trial begins for suspended Jefferson Co. Judge who "let SO off the hook"

A judge allegedly allows a man accused of a sex crime to plead to a non-sex offense so he can have a place to live, and gets dragged before the ethics board for not destroying the man's life.

Trial begins for suspended Jefferson County Judge Dan King

Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 12:46 PM     Updated: Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 12:52 PM
Anita Debro -- The Birmingham News Anita Debro -- The Birmingham News 
The nine-member Alabama Court of the Judiciary met for about an hour this morning in Montgomery to begin the trial of Jefferson County Circuit Judge Dan King, who was suspended in June after being hit with 16 charges of ethics violations by the state Judicial Inquiry Commission.

Opening statements began at 11 a.m. The hearing broke for lunch about noon and is expected to begin again at 1 p.m. with the presentation of testimony and evidence. 

Scheduled witnesses include: Arthur Green, the district attorney for the Bessemer division of Jefferson County; Bessemer Division Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Veitch; Ronnie Ashford, a man whom King once represented and whose rape conviction King set aside a year ago so he could forego registering as a sex offender and move in with his mother; and Linda Ashford, the man's mother who asked King to help.

The Judicial Inquiry Commission found it improper that King set aside the rape conviction of a man he represented and for whom he negotiated a plea deal. The commission noted that Ashford's mother cared for King's son at Children's Hospital several years after Ashford was convicted.

The commission also accused King of ethics violations related to an April order in which King accused a fellow judge of succumbing to political pressure in a ruling related to electronic bingo. 

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