WBR judge faces La. Supreme Court in disciplinary hearing
NEW ORLEANS - West Baton Rouge Parish Judge Robin Free and his attorney Steven Scheckman went before the Louisiana Supreme Court on Monday for hearing concerning Free's alleged misuse of his judiciary power.
News 2's Chris Nakamoto was on the scene as Judge Free exited the courtroom while refusing to answer questions following the hearing where five justices asked pointed questions about his conduct and even questioned the judge's sworn testimony when his wrongdoing came to light.
An attorney for the judiciary commission concluded Free's misconduct was evident in two cases. The first of which was an all-expenses paid trip, via private jet, the judge took to a ranch in Texas in 2010 with a lawyer who had won a big settlement in Free's courtroom.
There were also issues about whether the judge should have rescued himself from a case involving a class action lawsuit where his mother had a possible financial interest. In this case, Free's attorney claims his conflict wasn't immediately known, but today the justices on the state's highest court were told the judge made a mistake and Free's attorney admitted to it and apologized to the court.
The judiciary commission is recommending a 30-day suspension without pay for Free along with a $7,000 fine to the judiciary commission. The court does not have a deadine by which it must decide the matter.