Local News

Renfer Sent Judicial Report

Posted November 16, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

— Wake County District Court Judge Susan Renfer and the seven-member Judicial Standards Commission now know the panel's recommendation; the public may learn it next week if Renfer goes ahead with plans to issue a statement.

Reached at home Friday, Renfer confirmed that the panel's recommendation had been delivered to her. She would not reveal what it was.

"I have forwarded (the recommendation) to my attorney. We're in the process of reviewing it. I plan to make a statement as soon as possible, hopefully early next week," she said.

Renfer has been the focus of various complaints about her conduct in the courtroom, and they culminated with the matter being heard in October by the Judicial Standards Commission.

Following a year's investigation, in May the commission had issued an 11-page bill of particulars charging that Renfer had brought "disrepute" on her office.

Among the grievances: that Renfer yanked at a lawyer's blouse that she thought was too revealing; berated a Republican lawyer in court for voting for her opponent; drove court clerks to tears with belittling remarks, and that she denied a man's request for a lawyer and declared him guilty without calling any witnesses.

In reaching its recommendation, the commission has various options, which range from reprimand to removal from office.

Renfer has 10 days to ask for changes to the commission's record of her case.

The Judicial Standards Commission will deliver its recommendation Nov. 26 to the N.C. Supreme Court, which will eventually make the final decision in the case.

The Judicial Standards Commission is prohibited from revealing its own recommendations.

Renfer was elected District Judge in 1994. She was the first Republican in decades to win a Wake County judgeship, and her supporters have contended that the accusations are politically motivated. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia law school.