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Evansville magistrate resigns amid misconduct investigation

June 12, 2018

A Vanderburgh County magistrate judge has resigned from the bench following an Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications investigation into allegations of misconduct.

The Indiana Supreme Court announced Magistrate Jeffrey T. Shoulders’ resignation on Tuesday, almost two weeks after Shoulders officially resigned on May 30. According to an agreement entered into by both Shoulders and the JQC, the commission informed Shoulders on Jan. 17 that it had opened an investigation against him regarding “allegations of misconduct involving inappropriate relationships with court employees and attorneys during court hours and on court property.”

If substantiated, the allegations against Shoulders, who was appointed to the bench in November 2012, would have constituted violations of Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct Rules 1.1, 1.2 and 3.1(c). Those rules require judicial officers to comply with the law and to act and maintain extrajudicial activities in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

The agreement provides that Shoulders, a superior court magistrate, cannot seek or accept any judicial office in the future in exchange for the JQC concluding its investigation against him. If Shoulders does hold any future judicial position, the investigation will be reopened.

Neither Shoulders nor his attorney, Kevin McGoff of Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, were not immediately available to provide comment about the investigation and resignation, and neither immediately returned messages seeking comment. Chief Judge Leslie C. Shively of the Vanderburgh Superior Court also did not immediately return a message seeking comment about the appointment of a new magistrate.

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