Judicial Qualifications Commission files charges against Norrick

Feb. 1—ANDERSON — The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has filed disciplinary charges against Madison Circuit Court Division 5 Judge Scott Norrick.

The commission is asking that the Indiana Supreme Court to appoint three Masters to conduct a public hearing and that the Supreme Court finds Norrick committed misconduct and that it impose an appropriate sanction.

"I need to apologize to our entire community as I have failed to properly supervise Circuit Court 5 staff and that has resulted in hearings not being set, appearances of conflict of interest, and has caused cases to be dismissed," Norrick said in a statement to The Herald Bulletin. "I fully accept responsibility and the consequences for the administrative errors made in my court and I am cooperating with the Judicial Qualifications Commission to resolve these matters quickly."

Norrick said he has implemented enhanced training and has made strides to prevent administrative errors.

The complaint was filed Thursday, including the failure to adequately supervise the court's staff, which resulted in the dismissal of 40 criminal cases.

The complaint states that between Jan. 1, 2021, through March 31, 2023, there were 40 criminal cases with missing entries and orders.

Norrick was elected judge in 2020.

The complaint states that Norrick was informed by the other judges and the Madison County Prosecutor's office about concerns of delays in inputting case entries and orders in criminal cases.

It states Norrick was made aware that his court reporter at the time was four to five weeks behind on completing case entries.

Another charge alleges that Norrick failed to process entries and orders for Landmark Accounts cases in which he represented them while in private practice.

Once elected Circuit Court Division 5 judge, Norrick's son Devin took over the account.

Because the court staff continued to issue numerous court orders and case entries using Scott Norrick's signature, it left the impression that Norrick didn't disqualify himself and presided over the cases in which there was a conflict.

Norrick in a response said he directed the court staff to transfer any Landmark Accounts cases or those involving his son to the master commissioner or magistrate.

"Despite his awareness of the conflicts of interest, Respondent (Norrick) did not undertake any efforts to review his staff's work to ensure the he was promptly and correctly disqualified," the complaint states.

Another finding by the commission revealed that an order signed electronically by Norrick granted a parent custody of a child without notification to the other parent. This order was made without a required court hearing, the commission said, and did not comply with the requirements of the Indiana Trial Rule of Procedure.

Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said he has been pleased with Norrick's tenure as a judge.

"His decisions have been beneficial to the criminal justice community," he said. "I have disagreed with him in Edgewood and this.

"I wish he would have taken my advice, but he went in a different direction," Cummings said. "The other judges brought the complaint."

He said the dismissal of the criminal cases involved some carried over from the tenure of Thomas Clem as judge before Norrick.

"It was the same court reporter," Cummings said, "but no action was taken. I hope he has learned a lesson."

He said the court reporter was to undergo a performance evaluation, but instead resigned.

In 2020 Cummings lodged a complaint against Norrick who was the judge of the Edgewood Town Court at the time.

The complaint was that a court reporter for the town court was alleged to have made racist comments to deputy prosecutor Rosemary Khoury.

The court reporter resigned.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.