‘Insult to the process.’ Judge who wouldn’t hear gay adoptions skips disciplinary hearing.

Dec 18, 2017

By Greg Kocher

A judge did not attend a Friday hearing to answer charges that he violated ethics rules when he objected to handling adoption cases involving gay parents.

Neither W. Mitchell Nance, family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties, nor his attorneys attended a hearing of the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission in Lexington.

Nance had announced in October that he would resign effective Saturday night. Nance’s attorneys asked the commission to dismiss the case given his decision to resign.

But Steve Woltnizek, chairman of the commission, said “Whether Judge Nance appears or not, we are required to conduct a hearing.”

Commission attorney Jeff Mando said afterward that it is “not totally unusual” for a judge to be absent, “especially in light of the fact he resigned.”

Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, which advocates for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said he thought Nance’s absence was “an insult to the process.”

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3 comments on “‘Insult to the process.’ Judge who wouldn’t hear gay adoptions skips disciplinary hearing.

  • @OP But Steve Woltnizek, chairman of the commission, said “Whether Judge Nance appears or not,
    we are required to conduct a hearing.”
    The commission deliberated in secret
    after a 10-minute hearing
    but won’t announce its decision until next week.

    If the defence presents no evidence, and offers no credible explanation for its absence, then the hearing should proceed – to a verdict of guilty as charged! – and take the appropriate action to see that any disciplinary measures or bans, apply to any future employment this individual may seek in the legal professions.

    @OP link – The commission charged that Nance’s order violated a number of ethics provisions.
    Those included rules that require judges
    to uphold standards of conduct,
    comply with the law and act in ways that promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
    Judges are barred from showing bias or prejudice
    based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.

    Nance also put his recusal rule in place without permission from the state’s chief justice.

    There may well also be a basis for a review of his judgements and rulings in previous cases!

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  • @OP link – Nance’s attorneys said
    it is his sincere religious belief that
    “the divinely created order of nature is that each human being has a male parent and a female parent,”
    and therefore, the only adoption that serves a child’s best interest would be one that would create the chance for the child to have a parent of each gender.

    A statement which clearly shows that he is an ignorant uneducated bigot, who does not properly consider evidence, and has failed to remedy his personal ignorance by seeking expert advice on these specialist medical subject areas.
    He is therefore unfit to be a judge or direct the functions of a court!

    Nance’s decision not to handle adoption cases involving gay parents
    would have led to impartial decisions
    and made sure that all families had a fair opportunity for adoption,
    his response to the commission said.

    While that is so, his prejudices and incompetence, would undoubtedly spill over into other cases involving members of those same minorities, rendering him incapable of seeking or considering testimony from relevant expert witnesses, or exercising unbiased judgements.

    Wrongness wearing a religious badge of prejudice, is no substitute for proper consideration of expert testimony on specialist subjects!

    Resignation is the best option for all concerned, rather than (well paid) employment of those incapable of doing the job they are employed to do!

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  • So with one judge incapable of applying the law due to religious bigotry, we have another nominated judge in Trump’s list, who is clueless in the first place even before appointment!


    US President Donald Trump’s latest judiciary nominee has withdrawn his name after failing to answer basic legal questions at his Senate confirmation hearing.

    Video of Matthew Petersen’s embarrassing encounter went viral.

    “It has become clear to me over the last few days that my nomination has become a distraction,” Mr Petersen wrote in a letter.

    Mr Petersen was nominated as a federal judge in the District of Columbia.

    Mr Trump had accepted his offer to withdraw, the White House said.

    Mr Peterson, a Republican member of the Federal Election Commission, is the latest of Mr Trump’s conservative judicial nominations to fail.

    At the hearing, Mr Peterson stumbled over questions asked by Republican Senator John Kennedy.

    Senator Kennedy starts by asking Mr Petersen and the four other nominees who appeared with him: “Have any of you not tried a case to verdict in a courtroom?”

    Only Mr Petersen raises his hand.

    Senator Kennedy: Have you tried a jury trial?

    Matthew Petersen: I have not.

    Senator Kennedy: Civil?

    Matthew Petersen: No.

    Senator Kennedy: Criminal?

    Matthew Petersen: No.

    Senator Kennedy: Bench?

    Matthew Petersen: No.

    Senator Kennedy: State or federal court?

    Matthew Petersen: I have not.

    Senator Kennedy: Have you ever taken a deposition by yourself?

    Matthew Petersen: Uh, I believe no.

    Senator Kennedy: Just for the record, do you know what a motion in limine is?

    Matthew Petersen: I would probably not be able to give you a good definition right here at the table.

    The Louisiana Senator and former law professor, who still fully supports Mr Trump, openly criticised his nominee in a later TV interview.

    “Just because you’ve seen My Cousin Vinny doesn’t qualify you to be a federal judge,” Mr Kennedy told local station WWL-TV, referring to the 1992 comedy film about a novice lawyer.

    Mr Kennedy told the station that Mr Trump called him after learning of the exchange and agreed that Mr Peterson was too inexperienced.

    Mr Peterson, who became the third of Mr Trump’s judicial picks to flounder in just a week, said: “I had hoped that my nearly two decades of public service might carry more weight than my two worst minutes on television.”

    Yep! To be Trump nominee they really have to incompetent enough!

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