Plea Deal Keeps Former Jackson Judge Out Of Jail

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JACKSON (WILX)-- A plea deal keeps a former judge of Jackson County out of jail.

Former Judge James Justin plead guilty to nixing traffic tickets. He's accused of dismissing tickets for his wife and members of his staff as far back at 2006. Justin's attorney says judges across the state should take note.

Justin stood up in the courtroom Tuesday morning, this time on the opposite side of the judges bench and pled guilty to 4 accounts of "willful neglect," brought down from 4 felonies of misconduct by the prosecution.

Justin admitted to dismissing two tickets that had been issued to his wife and two tickets that had been issued to members of his staff without a hearing or notice to prosecutors. He is facing up to 4 thousand dollars in fines.

"He did what he did. If he had to do it over again he would have simply called the city attorney or township attorney and sought their approval for dismissal," said Defense Attorney Al Brandt.

It was brought up in the trial that former Judge Justin wasn't the only one that had been dismissing tickets. In the Jackson County District Court last year there were more than 200 dismissals by judges.

"If you really believe these are really the only 4 tickets that were dismissed youre missing the point. They're dismissed all the time. It does violate the statute but when you have 40 thousand tickets coming through a district court it's the only way to control your docket," said Brandt.

Prosecutor Gregory Townsend had no comment.

Brandt says the trial stands as a warning to all other judges that maybe doing the same thing Justin had done.

"The takeaway is it needs to be done properly and not short handed," said Brandt.

No date has been set for when Justin will be sentenced.

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