Chancery judge suspended for a month

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JACKSON – Chancery Judge David Shoemake of Collins was suspended, fined and will face a public reprimand after the Mississippi Supreme Court agreed Thursday that he had committed “judicial misconduct.”

The court ordered Shoemake be suspended 30 days without pay, be fined $2,500 and pay of $5,882.67 in court costs.

The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance had urged the high court to remove Shoemake, chancery judge in the 13th District, from office. The commission said its investigation showed the judge “improperly signed ex parte orders and contributed to the mismanagement of a ward’s estate.”

However, Justice Josiah Coleman’s decision said the commission failed to prove convincingly that Shoemake testified “that he knew or should have known” the error of his actions.

“We simply cannot agree that the Commission presented us with ‘clear and convincing’ evidence that Shoemake gave false and misleading testimony” in the case and that the commission did not provide sworn testimony to contradict Shoemake’s “plausible version of events.”

The 2013 complaint against Shoemake claimed he contributed to the mismanagement of a case well known to his court, which resulted in the dismissal from office of Judge Joe Dale Walker in Simpson County.

In Thursday’s ruling, Coleman states that the Shoemake, a second-term chancellor, failed to adhere to chancery court rules related to conservatorships and failed to investigate matters presented to him by the case attorney, resulting in financial losses to the ward.

Agreeing with Coleman were Chief Judge William Waller Jr. and justices Jess Dickinson, Ann Lamar and Jimmy Maxwell. Justices Michael Randolph, Jim Kitchens and Leslie King concurred in part and dissented in separate opinions.

Randolph said Shoemake’s actions “pale in comparison” with the actions of ex-judge Joe Dale Walker, who pleaded guilty to trying to influence a federal grand jury witness and trying to impede provision of documents to that witness.