Judge suspended without pay for two weeks for conduct

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SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – A judge made improper comments during a hearing and then tried to block an attorney’s access to a video of the hearing and her conduct, she admitted in a court order filed Friday.

Judge Donna Dutton, of Shelbyville, the District Judge for Kentucky’s 53rd Judicial Circuit, which consists of Shelby, Anderson and Spencer counties, was suspended without pay for 14 days for her conduct, according to the agreed order (read it dutton agreed order ) filed by the Judicial Conduct Commission.

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Dutton, the District Judge for Kentucky’s 53rd Judicial Circuit, which consists of Shelby, Anderson and Spencer counties, agreed to the order and has waived formal proceedings.

The suspension is effective from Sept. 6 to Sept. 20.

She must turn in her passes, keys and court credentials and can’t use her Judicial Center office or secure courthouse access pass, according to the order.

The suspension stems from an incident that began on July 18, 2019 when, according to the order, she “accused defense counsel of stealing from her husband, Gilmore Dutton. She then commented that defense counsel is ‘not going to be conflicted out forever,’ which was reasonably perceived as a threat by the parties involved.”

She then tried to pressure Shelby County Circuit Clerk and Judge Linda Bullock to refuse to grant the lawyer’s request for the video of the hearing. Because of the interaction, Bullock recused herself from the case as well and a special judge had to be appointed, according to the order.

By agreeing to the order, she admitted, among other things, to violating judicial rules barring her from using the office to advance her personal economic interests and allowing person relationships from becoming involved in decisions, requiring they act impartially, and prohibiting independent outside actions.

During the suspension Dutton cannot use her Judicial Center office, secure courthouse access pass and will need to turn in her passes, keys and credentials to court security.