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Judge Retires After Being Accused of Appointing His Son to More Than 200 Indigent Cases
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Summary: An Alabama judge has retired following the filing of a judicial misconduct complaint.

A long-time Cullman County judge abruptly announced his retirement after being accused of ethics violations.

The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission filed a complaint on Feb. 7 against District Judge Kim Chaney of appointing his son to handle hundreds of cases from August 2015 to July 2017.

  
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On Monday, the commission and Kim Chaney announced an agreement in which the Alabama Court of the Judiciary would find the ex-judge guilty of the allegations in the complaint and order him to pay $3,700 for the costs in prosecuting him.

Chaney, who served as a Cullman County Circuit Court judge from 1993 until his Feb. 15 retirement, appointed his son attorney Alex Chaney to more than 200 indigent cases.

Reportedly, Chaney Jr. took home around $105,000 from the appointments “exclusive of any monies paid according to an indigent-defense contract,” the commission’s complaint said.

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Roger Appell, the WBRC legal expert, says when it comes to the state’s ethics law, the judge and his son could run into legal problems of their own after dealing with the JIC.

The bigger problem both of them are facing is the potential of being arrested and indicted for the ethics violation. I look at the district attorney’s office and I say how did they let it happen for so long? They were there. They saw what was happening. Lots of people just had a blind eye to this,” Appell said.



The Court of the Judiciary is authorized to suspend a judge without pay, censure a judge for violations of their duties and even remove a judge from office. If the court finds the judge, mentally or physically incapable of performing the duties of the office, it may suspend the judge with or without pay or retire the judge.

The former judge and the commission announced an agreement on Monday, in which the Alabama Court of the Judiciary would find the ex-judge guilty of the allegations in the complaint and order him to pay $3,700 for the costs in prosecuting him.

The deal was accepted by The Court of the Judiciary.



 

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