Southwest Indiana, accused of misconduct, could face disciplinary action

GIBSON COUNTY — A southwest Indiana judge could face disciplinary action arising from misconduct charges related to his handling of paternity and dependent child cases.

Gibson Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey F. Meade is facing four indictments brought by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which investigates allegations of ethical misconduct by judges.

The indictments describe instances in which Meade engaged in conduct that violated the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct.

In particular, a notice of formal proceedings alleges that Meade used profanity in custody cases against a father, making comments such as “be quiet,” “zip it,” and “shut up,” despite the father’s apology and implied that he got it.

In another case, Meade said in court, “That’s just bull (expletive)” and “I scooped pig (expletive) long before you did.” I’ll tell you what, that’s crap. It stinks. This type of behavior stinks,” the document said.

The document goes on to say that on more than one occasion, Meade made comparisons between the situation of a mother and father in a paternity case with that of his own divorce and custody case.

In addition, it is said that Meade “showed impatience” and “made undignified comments” by calling one party “bud,” “dude,” “brother,” and “man.”

It is also noted that Meade conducted a confidential, unrecorded hearing in a vulnerable child case, in which he ruled on various substantive motions and failed to provide the parties in one case with a fair opportunity to participate in the proceedings.

He faces a total of four charges. One of them relates to Meade’s conduct in a paternity case, while the other three stem from his actions during that confidential hearing.

According to an email announcement, it is for the Indiana Supreme Court to determine what, if any, judicial misconduct has occurred. The court may drop the charges, accept or reject a disciplinary agreement between the Commission and Meade, appoint a panel of judges to conduct a public hearing, impose a fine, or impose sanctions.

If the court imposes sanctions, they could include a reprimand, suspension, or permanent ban from serving as an Indiana judge.

Meade has the right, but not the obligation, to file a response to the indictment within 20 days.

Meade’s office declined to comment on the matter. WRTV has reached out to an attorney to represent him.