In the Matter of the Honorable Geoff L. Robison, Judge of the New Haven City Court, Respondent.
ATTORNEY FOR RESPONDENT J. Michael Loomis Loomis Law Office
Fort Wayne, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR INDIANA COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS
Adrienne L. Meiring, Counsel to the Commission Marcus A.
McGhee, Staff Attorney to the Commission Indianapolis,
September 21, 2018, the Indiana Commission on Judicial
Qualifications filed a "Notice of the Institution of
Formal Proceedings and Statement of Charges"
("Complaint") against the Respondent, Geoff L.
Robison. Respondent timely filed an Answer, and a panel of
Masters was appointed on November 1, with a hearing scheduled
to commence on January 24, 2019.
December 31, 2018, the parties tendered a "Conditional
Agreement and Petition to Dismiss Matter as Moot." On
January 15, 2019, the Court issued an order accepting the
conditional agreement, dismissing this matter as moot, and
discharging the appointed Masters. We now write to further
explain this disposition.
at all times pertinent to the charges, was the judge of the
New Haven City Court. Respondent is not an attorney.
resigned as judge of the New Haven City Court effective
December 26, 2018. That same day, the New Haven City Council
unanimously voted to close the New Haven City Court,
effective December 31. The parties' Conditional
Agreement, which this Court accepted on January 15, 2019,
prohibits Respondent from future judicial service.
Respondent took office in 2000, only circuit court, superior
court, and appellate judges were required to be
Indiana-licensed attorneys. Ind. Const. Art. 7, §§
7, 10; Ind. Code § 33-29-1-3. In 2015, Indiana Code
section 3-8-1-1.5 was amended to require judicial candidates
of all town courts and certain city courts to be Indiana
attorneys in good standing. Non-attorney judges, like
attorney judges, are ethically bound by the Rules of the Code
of Judicial Conduct. See Ind. Code of Judicial
Conduct, Application 1(A).
Complaint alleges, and Respondent admits, that in 2003, the
New Haven City Court and the Allen County prosecutor entered
into a written Agreement by which the Prosecutor's
Diversion Fund would pay the City of New Haven up to $25 for
each infraction deferral contract the New Haven City Court
executed. In April 2015, the prosecutor informed Respondent
that he and his staff were no longer authorized to use the
prosecutor's signature stamp to execute infraction
deferral agreements and that infraction cases would no longer
be filed in New Haven City Court.
this conversation, Respondent and his staff continued to use
the prosecutor's signature stamp to execute infraction
deferral agreements pursuant to the 2003 Agreement. In his
Answer, Respondent claims that the prosecutor's
unilateral change in filing policies breached this Agreement,
and argues that it was the prosecutor's responsibility,
not the court's, to ensure that local law enforcement
agencies were made aware of this policy change and amended
their filing practices accordingly.
Code section 34-28-5-1(f) provides that individuals who were
under 18 at the time of an offense are not eligible for an
infraction deferral program if the alleged violation falls
under certain categories, including traffic regulations,
driver's license violations, and open alcoholic beverage
violations. Respondent admits that he placed juveniles in the
infraction deferral program, thereby violating section