Montgomery hearing begins for suspended judge - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Montgomery hearing begins for suspended Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge

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Suspended Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Dorothea Batiste, right, and her attorney, Julian McPhillipps, left. (abc3340.com) Suspended Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Dorothea Batiste, right, and her attorney, Julian McPhillipps, left. (abc3340.com)
MONTGOMERY-AL -

The hearing for suspended Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Dorothea Batiste began Monday in front of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary in Montgomery.

Judge Batiste faces ethics charges that she abused her power by throwing several people into jail for contempt of court.

"This is just the worst kind of persecution, it really is," said Judge Batiste's Attorney, Julian McPhillipps. "I don't have any confidence that we are getting a fair hearing."

Judge Batiste is a Domestic Relations judge. She was elected to a full term in 2010 and was sworn into office January, 2011.

A witness in a 2011 divorce case testified she spent three nights in jail after Judge Batiste held her in contempt of court for not following an August 9, 2011, order. The witness testified she never received an order and was denied a hearing before she turned herself in.

The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission outlined 30 charges of ethics violations in five divorce cases, but Judge Batiste claims those allegations are spearheaded by retired Judge Scott Vowell. In an EEOC complaint earlier this year, Judge Batiste claimed Judge Vowell made several sexual advances towards her.

In a statement, Judge Vowell wrote: "By the canons of judicial ethics of the State of Alabama I am not allowed to comment on specifics, yet I am confident that the outcome here will be the dismissal of these baseless charges, after they're found to be absolutely false."

The hearing is expected to last several days.

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