There is no question that the magistrate in the case at hand acted in a manner
inappropriate to his office when he went to the victim's hotel room. Nevertheless, what
occurred during that visit is highly contested by the parties to the disciplinary proceeding.
Indeed, the factual dispute begins with whether the magistrate actually entered the room and
continues through what transpired between the parties after that point and extends to how long
the encounter lasted. To routinely deprive an accused judicial officer of a source of income
while defending a judicial misconduct charge under such contested factual circumstances is
hardly representative of the hallmark of the judiciary _ fairness.
In the present case, not only are the material facts hotly contested but the magistrate has also represented that he has no other source of income with which to readily develop a competent defense against the charges levied. Under such circumstances, fairness dictates that suspension from duty must occur to preserve public confidence in the judicial system because of the serious misbehavior which has been alleged. I believe fairness also demands that the magistrate should not be summarily denied pay by this Court without full and fair consideration of the particular facts and circumstances of his case.
Accordingly, I concur with the majority regarding this Court's authority to suspend the subject magistrate without pay. However, I dissent generally with the majority's indiscriminate manner of deciding to indefinitely suspend judicial officers without pay whenever a transgression of judicial conduct rules is alleged, I also dissent from the specific decision to suspend the magistrate named in this case without pay.
I am authorized to state that Justice Starcher joins in this separate opinion.