Kentucky judge suspended 30 days for alcohol abuse issues in court
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – A Warren County judge has been suspended for 30 days for drinking alcohol “to a degree that it affected the performance of his duties,” according to an order on Tuesday by the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission.
Warren District Court Judge Sam Potter agreed with the terms of the suspension, which will be without pay from Dec. 15 through Jan. 13.
An investigation by the commission found that Potter “appeared in court disheveled and engaged in erratic behavior,” routinely making “inappropriate statement” to attorneys and others in his courtroom.
Also, “on numerous occasions,” Potter "failed to provide basic due process rights to criminal defendants,” according to the suspension order, finding that Potter violated the Code of Judicial Conduct.
He was accused of neglecting his judicial responsibilities or performing them “in a substandard manner,” the commission concluded.
During the investigation, Judge Potter entered into an extensive in-patient treatment program. He has agreed to abide by all terms of the program and allow the commission to monitor his progress, according to the order.
“Unfortunately as happens to many people today, particularly lawyers and judges, he became involved with alcohol and became dependent, and that interfered with the performance of his judicial duties,” said attorney Charles English Sr., who represents Potter.
English said Potter has undergone extensive treatment and is now a “recovering alcoholic.” He has been back on the bench since July 1.
“Judges, like others, are human,” English said.
While he is suspended, Potter may not use his office at the Warren County Justice Center and must give up his court access pass and credentials.
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