Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Someone showed up here looking for Joseph G. Makowski, the former judge who tried to fix a DWI for a lawyer friend. The DA reckoned that prosecuting a DWI lawyer was more important than going after a crooked judge, and gave Mr. Makowski a walk when he agreed to step down from the bench. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct took up the matter next, in order to determine if he should be retroactively removed from office, which would cost him his pension. The Commission closed its investigation last month. The bottom line is that Mr. Makowski agreed not to seek judicial office in the future, and keeps his pension.

I would have thought that judicial corruption would have been taken more seriously. The DA declines to prosecute, the Chief Administrative Judge allowed him to keep hearing cases while the whole investigation by the DA was going on (he was on the bench when he resigned), and now the commission that is responsible for punishing judicial misconduct brushes the thing aside, essentially saying that Mr. Makowski's sanction should be the punishment he chose for himself. I'm all for leniency, since to wish ill, even when we are talking about the worst judge in the area, is bad karma. But I am still surprised.

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