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St. Joseph Co. judge suspended for misconduct, improperly dealing with a charitable trust

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday ruled to suspend a St. Joseph County Probate Court judge for 7 counts of misconduct during his time as an attorney and later as a judge.

Judge Jason Cichowicz was given a 45-day suspension without pay for violating several judicial codes of conduct that require judges to respect the law and avoid abusing their judicial position to benefit the private interests of another.

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications said in a release that two of the charges stem from Cichowicz’s time as an attorney, where he violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by having a conflict of interest while representing one of his clients.

The additional five charges allege that after Cichowicz was elected judge, he abused his role as a trustee member of a charitable organization to donate funds to the courts for improvements.

“The funds were donated in a way that the public would not be able to determine the source, and (Cichowicz’s) father’s business made some of the improvements,” the release says.

Along with the suspension, the court ordered Cichowicz to pay a $3,824 fine to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Cichowicz’s suspension is set to begin on Sept. 5 and end on Oct. 20.