David Sachar with the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission announced today that a letter of admonishment has been issued to a Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge who blew through a DWI checkpoint in January before leading police on a short pursuit until a State Trooper disabled his truck by running into it.
As we reported back in January, Circuit Judge William “Bill” Pearson, whose jurisdiction includes Pope, Johnson and Franklin Counties, was arrested on charges of DWI, reckless driving, fleeing and refusal to submit to a chemical test. The incident was caught on police dashcam video, seen above. Pearson plead guilty earlier this month to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and DWI. The other charges were dropped.
In the letter of admonishment, Sachar cited two canons from the code of judicial conduct, including that a judge “shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety,” and “A judge shall conduct the Judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of the judicial office.”
In closing, Sachar wrote that “public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by improper conduct committed by a judge whether the conduct is professional or person in nature. Committing a violation of the law, however slight, is an example of improper conduct for a judge and impugns the integrity of the judiciary.”
As long as Pearson abides by the conditions of his criminal plea and refrains from hearing DWI cases until Dec. 31, 2017, the letter says, the admonishment will resolve the matter without further consequences.
You can read the JDDC’s letter of admonishment here: