Judge agrees to suspension over racially charged comments

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Olu Stevens
Olu Stevens (Photo Courtesy: WHAS)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – A Kentucky judge facing possible banishment from the bench for racially charged comments aimed at a prosecutor has instead been suspended by the state Judicial Conduct Commission.

Olu Stevens, a circuit judge in Louisville, accepted a 90-day suspension without pay on Monday in an agreement with attorneys for the commission.

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The agreement came at the start of a hearing that potentially could have ushered Stevens off the bench for good.

A contrite Stevens admitted to violating judicial canons and said his social media onslaught against prosecutor Tom Wine was wrong. Stevens is black; Wine is white.

In provocative posts that threatened to end his judicial career, Stevens’ comments ignited a debate about racial fairness, judicial impartiality and free speech for judges. His outburst came after Wine questioned his authority to scrap a jury panel because it lacked minorities.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.