For the second time in a year, Mecklenburg District Judge John Totten is in trouble – this time facing misconduct charges for allegedly suppressing a drunken driving defendant’s alcohol level.
For the second time in a year, Mecklenburg North Carolina District Judge John Totten is in trouble – this time facing misconduct charges for allegedly suppressing a drunken driving defendant’s alcohol level so the man wouldn’t be punished as harshly as N.C. law requires.
Totten is accused of signing an order he knew or should have known was “false and misleading,” allowing the DWI defendant to avoid having an interlock device installed on his car. Totten’s actions “constitute willful misconduct in office and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice,” according to charges brought by the N.C. Judicial Standards Commission. Totten’s order claimed a motion to suppress the DWI evidence had been made and that the prosecutor and defense attorney had argued their positions in court before he decided to throw out the alcohol test results. In fact, there was no motion and no hearing, according to the judicial commission’s charges.
Totten faced criticism last March when he was suspended indefinitely by N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker following complaints that he had made inappropriate comments to court personnel. In some of those remarks, sources told the Observer, Totten while in the courthouse recounted experiences at a bar and restaurant and described women’s bodies and how scantily they were dressed.
Totten, who was allowed to return to the bench in July, said in statement he regretted making “”offensive”” comments to his associates. Totten is accused of violating three canons of the N.C. Code of Judicial Conduct, including: — Judges should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary. — Judges should avoid impropriety in all activities, should respect and comply with the law and should avoid letting relationships influence their judicial conduct. — Judges should be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence in it, and should give all parties the right to be heard.