From [HERE] It was a conversation between two judges about a Black defendant in the courtroom just a short time earlier.
"I'll tell you, he's some field (n-word)," District Court Judge Michael Creedon said, according to an internal court report obtained by 5 Investigates.
The other judge responded, "What?"
Creedon then allegedly repeated, "You know, a field nigger)."
The conversation from June was recalled by a probation officer who overheard it while heading to the judge's chambers to look for a signature on some paperwork. But it upset the probation officer so much he reported it, and the investigation that followed ultimately led to Creedon's agreeing in September to quietly retire with a six-figure pension.
The state Judicial Conduct Commission released no details of the complaint or the investigation except to say it involved a racially insensitive remark, but the report obtained by 5 Investigates reveals the complaint that started the investigation.
A month after Creedon's agreement, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a three-sentence news release saying Creedon retired because of the complaint and for family health reasons. Creedon has not returned 5 Investigates' phone calls seeking comment.
"Why is the commission so secretive?" 5 Investigates' Mike Beaudet asked Harold Neff, executive director of the Judicial Conduct Commission.
"From the moment a complaint arrives here, it has to remain confidential and always remains confidential by state law unless there's a very narrow exception that permits the commission to release information," Neff said. "Judges occasionally do step over the line in terms of misconduct, but most of what we see is relatively minor situations."
An analysis by 5 Investigates found that more than 90 percent of the complaints that got a closer look over the last decade were ultimately dismissed. And the commission has not issued formal charges against a judge since 2007.
One lawmaker wants to take a closer look at judicial accountability. State Sen. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, has filed a bill to create a commission to study judicial accountability.
"Since 2007, to say that no one has done anything that could rise to that level-- it seems a bit hard to believe," Gobi said. "We don't see many sanctions against judges and so I think it would make more sense to take a look after every so many years and have them be reappointed."
If the Legislature approves the commission, it will develop recommendations to improve judicial accountability for everything from their appointment to their oversight.