We covered Judge Benge’s legal troubles back in July in a post I think was one of Nowdy’s finest efforts. By all accounts Judge Benge is a decent jurist whose initial inexpereince on the bench lead her to make a terrible error in judgement. WWL radio New Orleans has the breaking story:
The Louisiana Supreme Court has removed a Jefferson Parish judge from her position with the 24th District.
The high court ruled today that Judge Joan Benge conspired to fix a personal injury case for a plaintiff who had ties to disgraced former Judge Ronald Bodenheimer.
Legal experts say the ruling by the court could also mean that Benge could lose her license to practice law altogether.
In 2001, a newly-elected Judge Benge was ensnared by an FBI “Wrinkled Robe” investigation of corruption in the Gretna courthouse.
While tapping the phones of veteran Judge Ronald Bodenheimer, federal investigators also recorded Benge discussing a personal injury case, which had come before her bench, with Bodenheimer.
According to the Judical Commission report, Benge appeared to give in to pressure from Bodenheimer to find in favor of the plaintiff, even though Benge several times reffered to it as a “zero” case, meaning that she thought that the plaintiff was entitled to no recovery for alleged damages.
In her response to the judicial commission, Benge said, “this conduct occured in ’01. I’m a different judge today. This is ’09. This was a 20 minute conversation when I was young.”