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In re Greene
North Carolina Supreme Court
328 N.C. 639 (1991)
Judge George R. Greene of the General Court of Justice, Superior Court Division presided over a criminal proceeding involving Myra Sheffield’s assault by her estranged husband. Following the conclusion of the case, the Judicial Standards Commission (commission) filed a complaint against Greene for conducting himself in a manner that was prejudicial to justice and brought the judiciary into disrepute. Specifically, the commission alleged that Greene had criticized Sheffield’s unwillingness to reconcile with her abusive husband and had criticized the battered-women’s assistance group that one of the prosecution’s witnesses was involved with, Interact, for being one-sided and man-hating. The complaint also alleged that Greene told Sheffield outside the courtroom that he had laid his wife on the floor after she slapped him and no longer had any issues with her. In response, Greene claimed that he had intended to counsel Sheffield by stating that she should return to her husband and that he had made the disparaging remarks about Interact outside of the court and had tried to remove any hostile feelings Sheffield had against him by asking whether she forgave him for any misunderstandings she had because of his behavior in court. The commission held a hearing on the matter. Sheffield, the Interact representative, and Greene all testified as to their versions of the events. During his testimony, Greene claimed that his behavior was a result of getting angry because he believed the prosecution was attempting to influence his decision. The commission concluded that clear and convincing evidence had been provided to show that Greene had diminished the integrity of the judiciary through his actions during the proceeding. The Supreme Court of North Carolina then reviewed the commission’s findings and recommendation for discipline.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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