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Iowa judge accused of urinating in public, drunken behavior suspended by Supreme Court



This news story was published on September 13, 2014.
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Iowa Supreme Court

Iowa Supreme Court

DES MOINES – An Iowa judge up for re-election this fall has been suspended by the Iowa Supreme Court after a series of gaffes and other alleged drunken behavior that included urinating in public.

The Iowa Supreme Court was asked to suspend Judge Emily Dean of Fort Madison for 90 days, but opted instead for a 30 day unpaid ban because Dean “has confronted her disease and now has demonstrated a deep personal commitment to recovery…She appears to have overcome the denial”.

Among Dean’s alleged transgressions as a judge was a 2012 incident in which she arrived at the courthouse intoxicated and unable to take the bench.

The commission that recommended the suspension also noted multiple other incidents related to the judge’s alleged alcoholism, including the following:

– In 2011, after Dean had spent a weekend with family member without alcohol, she had a grand mal seizure due to withdrawal during that time.

– At various points in the spring of 2012, Dean was reported to have acted strangely in court. One day, as she took the bench, she said to the lawyers and others appearing before her, “Why are you all here?”

– She pressed the panic button on the bench while there was no emergency, stating that she wanted to “test it.”

– A member of the public reported seeing her driving while under the influence and urinating in the street. Dean admitted that she was driving to the police officer, but no charges were filed as she denied the other allegations.

By the time the complaint was filed and the application was reviewed by the state supreme court, Dean was reportedly in recovery. The justices of the Iowa Supreme Court, in their ruling on September 12, 2014, reduced the suspension to 30 days and stated:

“Judge Dean has confronted her disease and now has demonstrated a deep personal commitment to recovery…She appears to have overcome the denial, recovered from the embarrassment, recognized the depth of the problem…and most importantly has been able to establish the kind of supportive framework associated with successful recovery over a lifetime.”

Emily Dean is a district associate court judge of District 8B of Iowa. She was appointed to this position in 2006. She is running for retention in 2014.

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One Response to Iowa judge accused of urinating in public, drunken behavior suspended by Supreme Court

  1. Philosophus Reply Report comment

    September 14, 2014 at 7:00 am

    I once dated a lawyer in Iowa City who later became a judge. She was a chronic alcoholic to the point of being pass out black out drunk. I wonder if she still has a problem with alcohol while she sits on the bench? Interesting to see learn of other judges with this problem. I wonder how many more are out there? Some system we have here in America. (shaking head)