The following is reprinted from a news release from the Indiana Supreme Court.
The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has issued a Public Admonition to Marion Superior Court Judge Rebekah F. Pierson-Treacy. The admonition is the result of language in an August 2011 invitation to an election fundraiser that gave the appearance that monetary campaign contributions would result in favorable court rulings.
Judge Pierson-Treacy admits the invitation included inappropriate statements and accepts the Public Admonition. She admits to violating Rule 1.2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which requires judges to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary.
More than six-hundred invitations to a fundraiser for Judge Pierson-Treacy’s re-election campaign were mailed to Indianapolis area residents. The invitations included “Suggested Contributions,” with the following recommended monetary amounts and legal monikers:
$500 “So Ordered”
$1000 “Favorable Ruling”
Recipients of the invitations were directed to make checks payable to the “Re-Elect Judge Becky Committee.” Judge Pierson-Treacy stated the intention was to list the donation levels in an entertaining fashion.
Media reports related to the fundraiser suggested the invitation gave the appearance that “justice was for sale” in the judge’s courtroom. While there is no evidence the judge intended to barter rulings for contributions, the invitation presented a negative view of the judiciary.
The Commission determined the invitation likely gave the impression to the public that the judge’s rulings could be influenced by campaign contributions. As a result of the behavior, the Commission has issued a Public Admonition of Judge Pierson-Treacy and concluded its investigation into her conduct.
The 7-member Commission on Judicial Qualifications investigates alleged ethical misconduct by judges. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard chairs the Commission. The Indiana Supreme Court has final authority over judicial discipline. The Court gives the Commission discretion to issue a Public Admonition instead of filing formal charges against a judge when it determines a Public Admonition sufficiently addresses the misconduct and the judge consents to that resolution. The official censure from the Commission, the Public Admonition, is kept on file with the Commission and is posted online.
Pierson-Treacy is the wife of Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy.