The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a district court judge’s dismissal of Circuit Judge L.T. Simes lawsuit against the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on one of the occasions it ultimately disciplined him for misconduct.
The 8th Circuit said the lower court opinion against the Phillips County judge, who was suspended once for ethical breaches, was “well-reasoned” and it affirmed it. Among other things, he continued in private business, made personal solictations for campaign contributions and appeared in judicial robes on a gospel CD cover. Simes contended he was targeted on account of his race.
The opinion sharply rejects every argument raised, including that he faced potential future disciplinary actions.
Simes offers no reason to expect the commission (now chaired by the Honorable Joyce Williams Warren, “the first black female judge in Arkansas” ) will target Simes on the basis of race. Nor is there reason to think such an implausible action by the commission would evade Arkansas and Supreme Court judicial review.
To think otherwise would require us to assume (1) judicial complaints will be filed against Simes, (2) the commission’s executive director—now no longer Stewart—will decide to pursue at least one of those complaints, (3) the executive
director will do so on the basis of Simes’ race, (4) the commission will determine further action is warranted, (5) the commission will make that determination on the basis of Simes’ race, (6) the commission will recommend sanctions against Simes, (7) the commission will make that recommendation on the basis of Simes’ race, and (8) the Arkansas Supreme Court will accept that recommendation. Although Simes’past behavior might suggest new complaints against him are possible, the remaining assumptions are several “steps removed from reality”—“so remote and speculative that . . . there [is] a want of a subject matter on which any judgment of this Court could operate.”
Simes is embroiled in another legal dispute before the Arkansas Supreme Court, a murder case in which he’s taken th unprecedented step of disqualifying a prosecutor and appointing one himself to prosecute a case the regular prosecutor wants to nolle prosse for lack of evidence.