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Judge Suspended For Racially Charged Comments

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A Kentucky Judge was suspended on Monday for racially charged comments directed towards a top prosecutor for lack of minority representation on a jury panel.

Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended Olu Stevens, a Black circuit judge in Louisville for 90 days without pay for petitioning against prosecutor, Tom Wine, who is White. Stevens acknowledged that his social media barrage violated judicial conduct.

“I recognize how serious it is to accuse someone, either expressly or implicitly, or racism. I do not believe Tom Wine is a racist. I apologize for any statements that implied as much,” Stevens said in a statement.

Wine says he has accepted Steven’s apology, laying their feud to rest. The case sparked a huge debate about judicial impartiality, free speech and racial fairness for judges.

“I have no personal animosity towards Judge Stevens and I have none now. I believe my energies and focus are better spent working for justice and fairness with our criminal justice partners and protecting victims of crime,” Wine told reporters after the hearing.

Stevens posted provocative messages on social media that threatened to end his judicial career. The rants came after Wine challenged him to repeal a jury panel because it lacked minorities.

After his hearing on Monday, Stevens says that he holds no ill-will towards Wine or anyone in the prosecutors office and he’s looking forward to returning to the bench after his suspension.

He told the commission, “I pledge that I will rule on all cases that come before me based on solely upon the facts and the law.”