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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Judicial activism

Somebody apparently forgot to tell Judge Jennifer Evans-Koethe of LaPorte about the need for dignity and decorum and that "I'm sorry" doesn't cover everything.

Evans-Koethe's troubles began in December 2008, shortly before she was to be sworn in as judge.

After a night of drinking, Evans-Koethe and her husband, Stephan Koethe, got into an argument.

She said she accidently shot herself after retrieving a gun to make her husband think she was contemplating suicide.

Later, at the hospital, she told an officials with La Porte County Sheriff's Department that she had written a note to her husband and asked him to dispose of it because is was embarrassing.

Although a grand jury indicted her for attempted obstruction of justice, she was acquitted by a jury in January.

She offered an apology (probably ordered by the Indiana Supreme Court after it heard her case), and she gets to go back on the bench after serving a two-months suspension. Her apology didn't make her exactly seem full of remorse. Although she said she was "truly sorry for" her actions and she hopes to "restore the public's confidence" in her position while "moving on with" her life, she went out of the way to point out she was not found "guilty by a jury of my peers." Well, that's all right then. We'll just let the drunken brawl, the "accidentally shot myself," the pretense of suicide and the obstruction indictment all pass.

This is the first reader comment on the newspaper story and offers an indication of how tough it will be for her to restore the public's confidence: "Upon the completion of my suspension, I look forward to moving on with my life, getting falling down drunk,shooting up my house and doing whatever the hel i wanna and resuming my duties after returning from a years paid vacation, as judge and restoring the public's confidence in my position,and if that aint good enough for ya's Phhhht! i'm the judge baby!!” Evans-Koethe said. "