Indiana News

Judge Candidate Faces Ethics Complaint Over Attack Ad

Challenger accused of repeating claim after being warned it was false



A candidate for judge has been hit with disciplinary charges over attacks she's made on the incumbent.


Negative ads and candidates playing fast and loose with the truth are often par for the course in campaigns, but Indiana judicial candidates must follow the Supreme Court's code of conduct. The court's Judicial Qualifications Commission accuses Brookville attorney Tammy Davis of violating that code by running ads falsely claiming the man who killed five people in Laurel last year would have been in prison on other charges if Franklin Circuit Judge Steve Cox hadn't released him early.

The commission also contends Davis crossed the court's ethical line by repeating the charges on her website, and in an interview with the Brookville newspaper. Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan says Davis's allegation stemmed in part from an error by the Department of Correction in calculating David Ison's release date. But she says the Democratic candidate repeated the charge even after the commission advised her it was incorrect and urged her to retract it.

Cox is a Republican who's been unopposed in his last four elections. He filed the ethics complaint after the first ad. The commission's charges include allegations that Davis crossed the line again by claiming in her second ad that the complaint was an effort by Cox to distract attention from his record.

Ison is serving multiple life sentences after pleading guilty to murder in February.

A three-person panel will hear the disciplinary case. If the charges are upheld, the Supreme Court could do anything from reprimanding Davis to banning her from judicial office. That leaves open the possibility Davis could win the election only to be removed from the bench.

Davis couldn't immediately be reached for comment.


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