Montgomery Municipal Judge Les Hayes, JIC reach settlement

Montgomery Municipal Judge Les Hayes, JIC reach settlement

. - Montgomery Municipal Judge Les Hayes appeared before the Court of the Judiciary Thursday, with the support of high profile members of Montgomery's legal community.

What was set as a hearing, transitioned into a settlement between Hayes and the Judicial Inquiry Commission, who brought the complaint.

The scathing complaint alleged Hayes violated 10 portions of the Cannons of Judicial Ethics, specifically for jailing defendants who couldn't pay fines, grossly deficient record keeping and employing a company to oversee debt collection.

Rosa Davis with the JIC addressed the Court of the Judiciary first, outlining the JIC's complaint.

"These matters happened in municipal court," Davis explained. "While that is the lowest level court in this state, it is the court through with most citizens travel, it the court system that sets the standard."

Hayes' attorney, Joe Espy, followed with statements before the Court, first apologizing on behalf of Hayes for the actions that brought him before the court.

"We acknowledge the charges are serious," Espy said. "We acknowledge that under no circumstances does Judge Hayes want to do anything that would bring about any criticism of the judicial process. While we deny a lot of the complaint, we acknowledge the matters that support the joint recommendation between the JIC and Judge Hayes."

The terms of the settlement found Hayes guilty of violating various Canons of Judicial Ethics, admitting guilt, and remedying the issues, many of which were reversed in 2014.

"Judge Hayes didn't invent the record keeping," Espy stated before the court. "Judge Hayes inherited it. Judge Hayes used it and didn't change it.  He accepts responsibility. Judge Hayes didn't invent JCS, which was used by 100 jurisdictions across the country, Judge Hayes used it less than anyone in the state, but he used it and accepts responsibility."

Following the statements from Espy and the JIC, the court met for less than 20 minutes and promptly approved the resolution. The terms suspend Hayes without pay until Oct. 1 and taxes Hayes with the costs of the proceeding adding up to $4,312.82.

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