A St. Louis city judge fighting to keep her job had her day before the Missouri Supreme Court today.
Circuit Judge Barbara Peebles was suspended with pay last August by the Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline over the way critics say she ran her courtroom. Peebles is accused of regularly showing up late to court, poorly supervising her clerks, and handling documents in a sloppy manner – that includes destroying a court document that contained a motion to dismiss a case. Attorney James Smith argued for the commission that wants Peebles permanently removed from the bench.
“The bailiff of ten years (Tammy Hogan), (that) had been in Division 25 (of the 22nd Circuit) for 10 prior years, said that no other judge had ever operated this way, in Division 25," Smith said.
Peebles also came under criticism for having her deputy clerk continue court business while she was out of the country on vacation. Retired State Supreme Court Judge Ronnie White represented Peebles before the High Court.
“Yes, she made a few mistakes involving her judicial time on the bench, she talked to the press when she shouldn't have...and it was clearly wrong to throw a piece of paper out of the file," White said. "But I don’t think any of that stuff rise(s) to the level sufficient to warrant removal from the bench.”
White said an admonition or a public reprimand would be a more appropriate punishment than removing Judge Peebles from the bench. The Missouri Supreme Court will rule on the matter at a later date.
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