Johnny Ray Rice --- Is this Why He Lost the Magistrate Races?
Posted in the Switzer Forum
#1 May 15, 2010
Read below about his violations of judicial canons. Information available from WV Supreme Court archives.
On April 26, 1995, James H. Preece, the son-in-law of Magistrate John Ray Rice, was arrested for public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance, marijuana. He was thereafter arraigned in the Cabell County Magistrate Court and bail was set by Magistrate Brenda Chapman. On April 28 or 29, 1995, Mr. Rice spoke with the arresting officer, Darren R. Dempsey of the Huntington Police Department. Mr. Rice inquired concerning the arrest and asked if the arresting officer could help Mr. Preece. Officer Dempsey subsequently spoke to the prosecutor regarding possible dismissal of the charges against Mr. Rice's son-in-law.
Mr. Rice also contacted the assistant prosecutor, James Smith, concerning the validity of the police search. Mr. Rice did not disclose the fact that the defendant was his son-in-law. On May 1, 1995, the charges against Mr. Preece were dismissed. In a "Notes and Comments" section of file, Assistant Prosecutor Smith wrote "dismissed per officer's agreement per Magistrate Rice."(2)
On August 25, 1995, the Commission filed a complaint alleging that Mr. Rice had contacted an arresting officer concerning charges of public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance against his son-in-law and that such activity constituted a violation of Canons 2A and 2B of the Code of Judicial Conduct. On November 20, 1995, the Commission found probable cause to charge Mr. Rice with a violation of Canons 2A and 2B, and a hearing before the Board was conducted on June 7, 1996.
The Board, on August 6, 1996, found that Mr. Rice had violated Canons 2A and 2B by contacting the arresting officer and the prosecuting attorney. The Board reasoned that the mere fact that the contact was made presents the appearance that Mr. Rice attempted to utilize the prestige of his office to gain favor for a member of his family. The Board recommends that Mr. Rice be admonished and required to pay the costs of the proceeding for violating the following:
1. Canon 2A, in its entirety, provides: "A judge shall respect and comply with the law, shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge's activities, and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary."
Canon 2B provides: "A judge should not allow his family, social, or other relationships to influence his judicial conduct or judgment. He should not lend the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others; nor should he convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence him. He should not testify voluntarily as a character witness."
#2 May 16, 2010
Wow. Why was he allowed to stay in office? Wonder if Preece ended up having to do jail time? I don't guess Johnny can resuce him anymore since he's not a judge, huh?
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