Traffic Judge Accused Of Misconduct

Judge Accused Of Fining More For Those Who Went To Trial

A traffic court judge who has been controversial for his tough stance on tickets and fines now faces charges of judicial misconduct.

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications on Friday filed four disciplinary charges against Marion Superior Court Judge William E. Young, who has been at the helm of traffic court since January 2009.

The commission's report accuses Young of "imposing substantially higher penalties against traffic court litigants who chose to have trials and lost" and routinely making statements "implying that litigants should not demand trials and would be penalized for doing so if they lost."

A lawsuit making similar claims against Young was filed in December.

According to that complaint, Young fines defendants up to an additional $500 if they contest their case and lose and up to $2,500 if they challenge their parking tickets.

"We think this will help our case because it's saying the same thing that we are," said Paul Ogden, the attorney in that case. "You can't punish someone for their day in court, you can't punish someone for exercising their constitutional right."

In one particular case involving a woman who challenged her ticket, the commission alleges the judge "exhibited impatience and made sarcastic remarks" when she couldn't decide whether to accept a plea bargain.

The Indiana Supreme Court reversed that conviction in June, ruling that Young's behavior did not meet the ethical standards required by the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct.

Young has defended his strict stance on traffic offenses. In April, he told 6News that defendants had better be prepared before entering his court.

"What I'm trying to have people stop doing is playing Russian roulette, or throwing the dice, if you will," Young said. "If you really feel that you were wronged and you wanted to go to trial, hire a lawyer, because there are a lot of opportunities that you might miss if you don't."

Young, who has been on the bench since 2001, faces anything from a reprimand to suspension. He has 20 days to respond to the commission's accusations.

More Information: Judge William Young Charging Information