The Iowa Supreme Court has suspended a Henry County judge 30 days for showing up to work drunk in May of 2012. The Supreme Court took the action following an investigation by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications which found District Associate Judge Emily Dean had been drinking before arriving at the Henry County Courthouse in Mount Pleasant.

Her court reporter and others persuaded Dean to leave, and she was driven back to her home in Fort Madison. Dean was later hospitalized for severe alcohol intoxication. The investigation also found several instances where the judge missed work, or at times seemed confused while at work.

Other events described in the report showed Judge Dean apparently decided to test a “panic button” to see if law enforcement would respond, which they did. In May of 2012,  a citizen filed a complaint alleging that a female driving Judge Dean’s husband’s car had urinated in a public street. The person followed the car to a destination that fit the description of Judge Dean’s mother’s residence. Judge Dean admitted she knew of the allegation, but could not remember what happened and could not deny it. No charges were filed.

Dean admitted she has a problem with alcohol and to failed attempts to deal with the situation. She has since begun a new treatment program. The Iowa Supreme Court found that after a substantial period of difficult and painful struggle with alcoholism, Judge Dean has confronted her disease and now has demonstrated a deep personal commitment to recovery.

The commission had recommended a 3month suspension, but the Supreme Court lowered that to 30 days and said additional sanctions will be imposed if Judge Dean fails to meet the conditions of a recovery monitoring agreement.

See the complete ruling here: Judge Dean suspension PDF