A state panel is admonishing a northeastern Indiana judge for trying to negotiate a settlement instead of setting a hearing when a defendant challenged a traffic ticket.
The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications said Monday that Fremont Town Court Judge Martha Hagerty had acknowledged she violated the code of judicial conduct.
The commission says Hagerty told the defendant his license would be reinstated if he paid a fine and improperly spoke privately with the defendant and the prosecutor without the other being present. The prosecutor dismissed the case two years later.
The commission says Hagerty took corrective steps, including establishing a separate office for the judge and rearranging hours to facilitate clerk coverage for the court in the Steuben County town about 50 miles north of Fort Wayne.