Local Judge Goes Before Commission To Answer Charges Of Inappropriate Conduct
Posted May 2, 2003 10:56 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake County judge who's on the hot seat appeared before the state Judicial Standards Commission Thursday.
Superior court Judge Evelyn Hill is under investigation for alleged misconduct. She apologized for her alleged actions Thursday but stopped short of admitting her conduct violated judicial ethics.
Hill is accused of insulting a lawyer and making an inappropriate gesture at a Franklin County deputy. The commision will make a recommendation to the State Supreme Court about whether and how to discipline Hill.
In a Durham courtroom two years ago, Kerry Larsen served as an attorney in a medical negligence case. According to witnesses, Hill tried to get Larsen to acknowledge the human tragedy in the case, while Larsen stuck to legal arguments.
Hill is said to have remarked: "Kind of incompetent, isn't it? Don't you think a good lawyer would know that?"
Larsen said she felt belittled and humiliated.
Other lawyers present on both sides of that case testified they were surprised by Hill's treatment of Larsen.
Hill later told an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation that she regretted the incident, saying she slipped into her Dstrict Attorney role -- a job she held for 20 years.
In the Franklin County clerk's office in January of 2002, deputy Brian Bowers testified that he was walking out the door when Hill was walking in.
According to Bowers, Hill said: "Get out of my way."
Bowers said he responded: "Excuse me?"
Then, according to Bowers, Hill said: "Get the hell out of my way."
Bowers said Hill reached for his private area, but he stopped her, and then Hill and other deputies around them laughed.
Hill told the Judicial Standards Commission that she thought she knew Bowers and was just kidding around.
"I am so embarrassed," Hill told the seven-member panel Thursday. "All I can do is apologize and say I'm sorry."
The commission scheduled two days for Hill's case. The commission may do nothing or recommend to the Supreme Court that Hill be censured or removed.