Recommendation for judge's removal made by state Judicial Qualifications Commission
South Dakota: During the week of February 5, 2011, the state Judicial Qualifications Commission made a recommendation that 7th Circuit Judge A.P. Fuller be either removed from the bench or forced to retire. The recommendation was made based on a six-month investigation into the judge's conduct that, in the end, determined that Fuller, "engaged in a pattern of misconduct showing an utter lack of courtesy and total disrespect to court personnel over a period of years." The investigation was spurred by an initial complaint filed by Pennington County State's Attorney Glenn Brenner, Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender and then Pennington County Sheriff Don Holloway in which they reported that Judge Fuller referred to police officers as a "bunch of racists" during a juvenile court hearing. Fuller now has 30 days to file a petition to the South Dakota Supreme Court asking them to oppose the commission's recommendation. Following that the commission has 20 days to reply to the petition and then Fuller has another 15 days to respond to the commission. After all this the state Supreme Court will decide, for the first time in the 121 years since its creation, on whether or not to remove the judge.
Judge Fuller has made an appeal asking the South Dakota Supreme Court to either modify or reject the recommendation made by the commission or appoint independent referee to handle his case. Fuller's attorney, Jack Hieb, has stated that he believes it should be taken into consideration that the accusations made against Fuller involve conduct on the bench and not any illegal activity. Fuller's attorneys are also challenging evidence of Fuller's misconduct that does not pertain to the initial complaint being brought in by the commission. Fuller's attorneys are also arguing that Fuller has admitted to many of the accusations brought against him, but is sorry and deserves a second chance.