Justice Kimball on Government Accountability
- Justice Kimball concurred in the majority opinion of Justice John L. Weimer, which imposed a 30 day suspension on Justice of the Peace Myrty Alfonso for her extreme abuse of power in having a neighbor against whom she harbored ill-will arrested and incarcerated for a night without probable cause.
Given that the Justice of the Peace stipulated that her conduct was the result of bias against her neighbor, the issue before the Court concerned what sanction was appropriate for effectuating the arrest and incarceration of an individual against which she harbored bias.
The Majority agreed with the factual findings of the disciplinary commission, but further agreed that its recommendation of a 15 day suspension without pay was not sufficient. It instead imposed a 30 day suspension without pay.
The Dissent, comprised of Justice Chet D. Traylor and Bernette J. Johnson, apparenlty believed that a 30-day suspension was too harsh (they dissented without opinion).
- (1) "Justice of the Peace Alfonso's misconduct adversely affected the integrity and respect for the judiciary because she cause a person to be arrested and to suffer a night in jail without legal cause."
- (2) "Alfonso may have intentionally exploited her position to satisfy personal desires."
- (3) "[T]he recommended discipline- a fifteen day suspension- is not commensurate withteh seroiusness of the violations.
- (4) Her "misconduct was wilful not negligent, in that she acted despite her bias toward the defendant."
- (5) "After JP Alfonso inappropriately exercised her judicial authority, that threat was realized when Thedens was incarcerated overnight."
POTENTIAL FLAWS IN THE COURT'S REASONING:
- (1) Although the court laments the exploitation of judicial power in such a manner so as to result in the confinement of anotherwise free individual, it only imposes a 30-day suspension. Given this extreme abuse, a more severe sanction, such as permanent removal, may have been warranted.