Kentucky District Judge Donna Dutton Suspended for Comical Conflict

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Judge Donna Dutton of Kentucky's 53'd District was recently suspended for 14 days because she failed to recuse herself despite an obvious conflict of interest in a criminal case. In July of 2019, Judge Dutton accused a defense attorney of stealing from her husband in open court, tried to stop that lawyer from obtaining video of the incident, and failed to recuse herself despite the obvious conflict of interest saying "Not going to be conflicted out forever." This a classic example of how personal the miscarriage of justice can become in small communities where "everyone knows everybody" so to speak. Judge Dutton had a duty to recuse herself from the case on her own motion because the personal conflict was obvious, but she failed to do so. It is not clear whether or not the attorney she accused ever asked her to recuse herself, but that does not really matter.

According to media reports (see source link above) most of those 14 days were handed down due to Judge Dutton actively attempting to stop the Shelby County Circuit Clerk and another Judge named Linda Bullock from disseminating the video. Her suspension will be up on September 20, 2020.

According to the media, the defense attorney considered Dutton's aforementioned quoted statement to be a threat of some sort. We do not know what relationship if any that Judge Dutton's husband had with the defense attorney. We assume that they at least know each other and have a poor relationship. We got the impression that Judge Dutton wanted to stay on the case for the purpose of retaliating against that lawyer for petty personal reasons.

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