Muncie judge accused of abusing her powers, faces 13 misconduct charges

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MUNCIE, Ind (Dec. 11, 2014)–The Judicial Qualifications Commission filed 13 charges of misconduct against a Muncie City Court judge.

Judge Dianna Bennington is accused of abusing her judicial power and committing ethical violations while in public.

“This commission is essentially the investigatory as well as the prosecutory body that looks into whether a judge in our state has committed misconduct,” said Kathryn Dolan, chief public information officer for the Indiana Supreme Court.

The seven-member qualifications commission says Judge Bennington breached her judicial power by sentencing a man without telling him when he would be released. That same sentencing hearing was also held without a prosecutor present.

The Honorable Dianna Bennington is accused of violating statutes and court rules. Court documents show that the judge did not comply with contempt procedures. The commission also cites the Judge for using a racial slur in public.

“Judges are held to this code of conduct, judicial ethics, that require judges to act in a manner at all times that promotes confidence in the judiciary​,” said Dolan.

Bennington is also facing a misconduct charge for a comment she wrote on Facebook to the father of her children.

“Must be nice to be able to take such an expensive trip but not pay your bills. Just sayin’.”

‘I’m here now because of Judge Bennington,” said John Ewing, a Delaware County inmate.

Ewing was sentenced by Judge Bennington, and so was his father, who is also named John Ewing.

Judge Bennington is accused of sentencing the elder Ewing of contempt of court without due process, or a prosecutor present.

Court documents reveal that Bennington hasn’t been cooperative. She has 20 days to file a response.

During 2013-1014, there were 435 grievances filed against judges in Indiana. Only one judge received formal disciplinary charges.

The court has a variety of options when it comes to handing down discipline in this case.

The case can be dropped, fines and sanctions can be imposed or Judge Bennington could be stripped of her powers.

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