The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has issued a Public Admonition of Decatur Circuit Court Judge Timothy B. Day. Judge Day for his actions in response to incidents in October of 2014 and December of 2015. The seven-member Commission investigates alleged ethical misconduct by judges.
The admonition says that both incidents involved the judge, his estranged wife and guns. In the first incident, the pair were separated but still spent time together. Judge Day went to the apartment complex of the man that his wife had been seeing after she denied being romantically involved with the man and suggested that her husband meet him. In the parking lot of the apartment complex, Day and his wife got into a heated argument, which led to her calling a Indiana State Police Trooper that she knew, informing him that her husband had a shotgun. When the trooper arrived, he secured the shotgun and spoke with both parties. The wife later refused to speak to law enforcement and retracted her earlier statements. Judge Day told investigators that he always kept a loaded shotgun in his pickup truck. A special prosecutor declined to file charges.
In the second incident, Day and his wife were still separated and divorce proceedings were underway. Day’s wife and 16-year-old daughter came to his home so the girl could prepare to go out with friends. The pair were discussing a possible reconciliation when the judge received text messages from a woman he was dating. The investigation revealed that the judge’s wife became jealous, grabbed his phone and threw it out on to the driveway. Their daughter retrieved the phone for her father. As she took it to her father, she found her parents playing “tug-of-war” with a rifle. Judge Day says that he was putting the gun in a closet to keep it away from his wife. He told investigators that the rifle had a sentimental value to him and that his wife knew that. He said he feared she would take it. The pair quit fighting over the gun when their daughter got involved.
The Commission says that at no time during, or immediately after the December 29, 2015 incident did Judge Day call the police or inform the Commission that another incident involving a gun had occurred. The Commission believes that, “considering the totality of circumstances of these two incidents, which occurred less than fourteen months apart, Judge Day made several missteps which escalated the conduct and led to more police involvement. By engaging in this conduct, the judge violated his ethical duty to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and to avoid the appearance of impropriety, as required by Rule 1.2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.”
This Admonition concludes the Commission’s investigation, and Judge Day will not formally be charged with ethical misconduct.