Mississippi Com'n on Judicial Performance v. Milling, 94-CC-1033

Decision Date23 February 1995
Docket NumberNo. 94-CC-1033,94-CC-1033
Citation651 So.2d 531
PartiesMISSISSIPPI COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE v. Judge Angela MILLING a/k/a Angela Milling Bailey.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

Luther T. Brantley, III, Jackson, for petitioner.

En Banc.

JAMES L. ROBERTS, Jr., Justice, for the Court:

This proceeding comes to us pursuant to findings by the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance, ("the Commission"), recommending that Angela Milling, a/k/a Angela Milling Bailey, ("Milling"), 1 a justice court judge in District One, Newton County, Mississippi, be removed from office, assessed with the costs of this proceeding and fined in an amount equal to any judicial salary she may have received since October 1, 1994. The Commission found Milling's actions constituted willful misconduct in office and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute. The Commission's recommendation is now before this Court for review pursuant to Rule 10 of the Rules of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance. As the Commission's findings and recommendations are well taken, we affirm. Therefore, effective immediately, Justice Court Judge Angela Milling, a/k/a Angela Milling Bailey, is removed from the office of Justice Court Judge, District One, Newton County, Mississippi, fined in the amount of any salary she has received since the date of October 1, 1994, as a justice court judge and assessed with all costs of these proceedings.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Angela Milling was at all times hereinafter mentioned a Justice Court Judge for District One of Newton County, Mississippi, as well as a Municipal Judge for the municipalities of Decatur and Hickory. She has since been terminated as Municipal Judge by both Decatur and Hickory. We write today concerning whether or not Milling should be removed from her position as a justice court judge and barred from ever again seeking or holding any judicial office.

The Commission received a citizen's complaint against Milling filed by Robert Earl Pierce, the District Supervisor for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. The Commission filed a formal six count complaint of judicial misconduct on March 4, 1994. Count Five of the complaint was later withdrawn by the prosecutor for the Commission.

A two day formal hearing before a three member committee of the Commission was held on June 3, 1994, and July 8, 1994. 2 On August 29, 1994, the Committee filed its At its October 14, 1994, meeting the Commission voted unanimously to adopt the committee's findings of fact and to amend the Recommendations to recommend to this Court that Milling be removed from office, assessed costs and be suspended pending a final decision by this Court. 3 The Committee also voted six to one to recommend Milling be fined an amount equal to any judicial salary she may receive after October 1, 1994, the one dissenting member voting to recommend a $500.00 fine. The Commission thereafter filed its Findings of Fact and Recommendations with this Court.

Findings and Conclusions. On September 8, 1994, a Memorandum of Understanding was filed in which Milling, acting pro se, agreed to resign from office on or before October 1, 1994, and not to serve in any judicial office in the future. She also agreed to pay the costs of the proceedings. In return, the Commission agreed to "withhold any further action upon the Formal Complaint in this cause, contingent upon the Respondent's full and complete compliance ..." Although Milling submitted a letter of resignation as Justice Court Judge on September 19, 1994, she withdrew her letter of resignation on September 23, 1994. On October 13, 1994, Milling filed an Answer to the Committee Findings and Conclusions.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

These proceedings arise from Milling's relationship with Donald Elmer Bailey, Jr. ("Bailey"), whom she met in June of 1993 when he was brought before her, as Hickory Municipal Court Judge, for an initial appearance. In July of 1993, Bailey was arrested by the Decatur Police Department for possession of alcohol and possession of paraphernalia. During the time he was being held on this charge an investigation was commenced and it was discovered that he had been indicted in the State of Georgia on five felony indictments charging him with drug trafficking, two counts of violating the Controlled Substances Act, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of drug paraphernalia. It was also discovered Bailey was a fugitive from the State of Georgia, having jumped bond and returned to Mississippi. Shortly after being released on bond on the Mississippi charges, Bailey was arrested by the Newton County Sheriff's Department on the Georgia fugitive warrant. He refused to waive extradition.

Bailey pled guilty to the charges of possession of alcohol and possession of paraphernalia on August 10, 1993, before Milling as the Decatur municipal judge. Milling fined Bailey and suspended his driver's license. The next day Milling contacted Newton County Sheriff James Hanna about signing an affidavit so a fugitive warrant could be issued and bond could be set allowing Bailey to be released from jail. Hanna filed the affidavit with Milling and on August 11, 1993, she issued a fugitive warrant for Bailey. Bond was set by Justice Court Judge W.L. Freeman the next day. Bailey made bond and was released from jail.

Several witnesses testified that they saw Milling and Bailey together beginning in late September or October of 1993. Bailey was seen in the yard of Milling's home and on several occasions driving her car, even though she had personally suspended his driver's license. Milling admitted that on one occasion Bailey drove her car while he had a suspended license when she asked him to pick up her children. She stated she knew Bailey should not drive and that driving with a suspended license was supposed to carry a penalty of two days in jail and a fine. Sheriff Hanna stated that when Bailey was picked up for extradition to Georgia he was "arrested out of the car with [Milling]."

Milling stated that she did not start seeing Bailey socially until some time in October when Bailey's sister-in-law invited Milling and her children to her home to watch a movie and Bailey was living there. By late November Bailey was openly living at Milling's house with her and her children. Milling In November of 1993, after she and Bailey started seeing each other, Milling summarily dismissed, without a hearing or motion by the county attorney, Bailey's fugitive warrant by writing across its face, "closed with Prejudice--State of Georgia did not come for Defendant." Milling stated she did this in an effort to close out her docket since the justice court no longer had any jurisdiction over the case and she knew of no other way to handle it. Miriam Hynes, the justice court clerk for Newton County, stated that Milling did not normally fill out the disposition of her cases in her docket book, that she, Hynes, usually did that.

stated that at this point she knew Bailey was a fugitive, but had never asked why he was wanted in Georgia. She said she did not know it was for trafficking drugs until after the Commission's investigation began.

Hynes first learned about the disposition of Bailey's case on November 18, 1993, when she was looking for Bailey's folder in the filing cabinet and could not find it. She opened the docket book and saw the disposition written there. It was not unusual for Milling to have a file out of the filing cabinet, so she went into Milling's office and looked on her desk and in her desk drawer but did not see the file. On December 30, 1993, after the Commission's investigation began, Milling returned Bailey's file to Hynes. Milling stated that Bailey's file was on her desk along with several others the entire time.

Hynes stated that Bailey had been to see Milling in the justice court building about a half dozen times. Bailey also came to see Milling at the Municipal Court in Decatur. Jinya Lea Clarke, the Decatur city clerk, stated that on one such occasion in October of 1993, Milling had in her possession the docket, ledger book and the partial payment tickets for fines. These included Bailey's for his August 10, 1993, conviction of possession of alcohol and paraphernalia. Milling was working on the partial payment tickets in the board room across the hall from Clarke's office when Bailey came to see her. Bailey stayed about fifteen or twenty minutes. Shortly thereafter Milling returned the payment book and refiled the partial payment tickets. Sometime later in the month Clarke found Bailey's sheet missing from the partial payment book as well as the tickets themselves. The fines were eventually paid in full by Dawn Bailey, Bailey's sister-in-law.

Some time in late December of 1993, the Newton County Sheriff's Department was called out to Milling's house in the early morning hours in response to a domestic disturbance call. Milling stated that the argument was not serious, that she and Bailey may have shoved each other, but nothing more serious than that. Neither she nor Bailey had called the sheriff's department and she did not press charges against Bailey.

At the time the hearing before the Commission began on June 3, 1994, Bailey had been extradited to Georgia. At the hearing on that day Milling testified that at one point before Bailey was taken back to Georgia she had asked Bailey to move out of her house, but later asked him not to leave because her son wanted him to stay. Later in her testimony she stated, "I knew that I needed to get [Bailey] out of the house, but I didn't want to go file charges or anything like that and make a big scene of it. I guess I was just grasping at hopes that maybe somebody could give me an easier way to do it, other than just putting him out."

Milling stated that Bailey had called her that morning to wish her luck at the hearing, but that...

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