Magistrate Barbara Johnson admitted she did not ensure all parties were heard by the court in a child custody case. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications issued the public admonition Thursday.
The admonition stems from an August 2011 case where a child was born and the father was ordered to make child support payments. The mother died a few years later and the mother’s parents filed for custody but Johnson did not notify the father of the hearing. Johnson admitted that no effort was made to check the father’s contact information and that she held the hearing without the father’s presence.
She then granted custody and child support to the grandparents and then allowed them to take the child to Kenya. The father learned of the court order, hired an attorney and was granted custody of his child several months later.
St. Joseph County Judge Admonished
July 5, 2012