By The Associated Press
JACKSON — The Mississippi Supreme Court has dismissed ticket-fixing accusations against Alcorn County Justice Court Judge Steve Little.
The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance last fall had recommended that Little receive a public reprimand and a 90-day suspension without pay.
The commission says Little had acknowledged his errors in the handling of some misdemeanor DUI cases. The commission says Little fixed 16 DUI tickets by remanding the cases, failing to issue a judgment or retiring the cases to the files.
The commission says Little also allowed the DUI cases to be retired to files if the defendant completed an alcohol or drug treatment program. The commission says complete of a treatment program does not cancel out a DUI charge.
Justice Randy Pierce, writing in Thursday’s decision, said Mississippi’s DUI law does not allow a sitting judge or a prosecutor to reduce any charge.
“‘Passing to the file’ a DUI charge does not constitute a reduction of that charge, so it stands to reason that Judge Little’s conduct cannot be compared to the conduct exhibited in ‘ticket-fixing’ cases,” Pierce said.
He said the commission also acknowledged that Little, who is not a lawyer, “relied on the written motions of the county prosecutor when he ‘passed to the file’ 16 charges of DUI.”
“The commission made no finding of bad faith or gross unconcern on behalf of Judge Little, and the record lacks evidence of any wrongdoing. Thus, the sanctions recommended by the commission are unwarranted,” Pierce said.