Judge Bradberry facing ethical complaint that could lead to disciplinary action
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Amid a hotly contested race for Third Circuit Court of Appeal it has come to light that one of the candidates, Judge Guy Bradberry, is facing possible disciplinary action for alleged unethical conduct.
An investigation by the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana stems from a complaint filed earlier this year that Bradberry allegedly violated various ethical rules by meeting privately with a man whose divorce proceeding was before his court.
Bradberry denies the allegations, which are detailed in public records of the judiciary commission.
A hearing notice by the commission Bradberry is accused of violating seven rules of the code of judicial conduct and alleged willful misconduct and failure to do his duty, in violation of the state constitution.
The notice alleges that Bradberry met privately with a local businessman whose pending divorce and custody matter was assigned to his court and failed to immediately take himself off the case.
The businessman’s personal attorney was Evelynn Oubre, who has practiced law in Calcasieu parish for 44 years. She was also the first woman assistant D.A. in Calcasieu Parish.
Oubre was outraged at the judge’s conduct concerning her client and requested he recuse himself immediately.
“The judicial canon of ethics says judges have to be absolutely impartial, absolutely fair. A judge cannot have communication, cannot have contact with a party that is in a suit with that suit that is pending before that judge,” said Oubre.
Judge Bradberry did remove himself from the case after Oubre sent him a letter. The hearing notice also mentions two previous allegations of misconduct that resulted in the judge being cautioned and admonished.
Oubre said she herself did not file the complaint but did make the records available to media.
“Because the public needs to know. We have an election coming up and the allegations against judge Bradberry are very severe. The public needs to know what the judicial administrator has learned,” said Oubre.
According to a response filed with the judiciary commission by Judge Bradberry through his attorney, he offered to settle the complaint by agreeing to disciplinary action.
“Judge Bradberry has agreed to take a public censure: be suspended for 30 days, and pay all costs of these proceedings, if he can be given until Nov. 18, ten days after the election, to file and agreement, agreeing to what he agrees to be censured for,” she said.
The commission ordered that Bradberry’s request for a second extension of time be rejected and ordered that his response to the allegations be made by Oct. 11.
In that response, the judge denies the allegations and says his communications with the businessman involved an emergency Bradberry understood could involve a serious risk to a teen in imminent danger. And that the judge indicated he did not initially know the man’s case was pending before him, and that once he did, he properly recused himself as required.
We are told it was the “businessman” who sought out the judge, and that the businessman did know his divorce and custody matter was pending in Bradberry’s courtroom.
We reached out to the judge to ask if the extension delay was requested so he wouldn’t face discipline until after the election. His attorney responded saying they just needed time to prepare the documents and get them approved by the commission, which doesn’t meet again until December.
No hearing date has been set on this matter.
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