MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A former Montgomery Family Court judge who stepped down from the bench just months after being re-elected formally entered into a settlement agreement Friday with the Judicial Inquiry Commission.
The state's Court of the Judiciary accepted the terms of the settlement during a public hearing. The Commission agreed to throw out all but one of the charges and counts against former Judge Patricia Warner. The remaining count involves Warner not recusing herself from a case, where her impartiality might reasonably be question.
Although it was not part of the settlement, the Commission said Warner will also forfeit her full judicial retirement of $62,567 a year. That is because Warner retired before she qualified for the full judicial retirement, but she will still receive retirement benefits from the state.
Warner agreed never again to serve in a judicial capacity in Alabama. She now resides in the state of North Dakota. In a press release, the Commission said this is the only the second time in the history Court of the Judiciary that a judge has received an order never to serve again.
"All gone, all done. The charges were false and made up. They always were," Warner said.
But for people who filed complaints with the Judicial Inquiry Commission against Warner felt the sanctions are not enough.
"I'm upset about it, I feel like she should have gotten more than that," said Susan Raybon, who filed a complaint against Warner. She doesn't even live in Alabama so it's nothing to her."
In a written statement, Warner and her attorneys criticized the Judicial Inquiry Commission.
"There was no basis for the actions taken by the Judicial Inquiry Commission," said Chuck Dauphin, an attorney for Warner. "In every case, the Commission had in its possession overwhelmingly evidence that Judge Warner had not violated the Judicial Canons of Ethics. This was simply a vicious witch-hunt."
The Judicial Inquiry Commission responded to Warner's allegations.
"If she truly thought that, then the forum to air those kind of assertions would have been a full trial on the evidence that the commission had," said Jenny Garrett, Executive Director of the Judicial Inquiry Commission.
Both Warner and the Judicial Inquiry Commission have both agreed not to appeal the ruling, so the Court of the Judiciary's ruling in the case stands.