The Minnesota Supreme Court has chosen to discipline — but not fire — a judge who received a deep discount on his legal bills after steering cases to his own divorce attorney.
District Judge Timothy Blakely, who hears cases in Dakota and Goodhue counties, will be suspended from the bench for six months without pay, the state's highest court ruled in an opinion filed Thursday. Blakely earns more than $123,000 annually.
The suspension begins immediately. He also is publicly reprimanded as an attorney and cannot return to legal work until the suspension is over.
"In essence, he cannot practice law for six months, be it as a judge or as a lawyer," said Martin Cole, director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.
The U.S. attorney's office opened a separate inquiry into whether Blakely's actions constituted mail fraud, but it is unclear if a federal grand jury was ever convened, said Doug Kelley, an attorney for the Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards.
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Supreme Court Suspends Dakota County Judge for Six Months Without Pay