Court suspends judge for fixing tickets

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Forsyth District Judge Denise Hartsfield (The Winston-Salem Journal)

FORSYTH CO., N.C. — The N.C. Supreme Court ruled Friday that Forsyth District Judge Denise Hartsfield should be suspended for two and a half months, without pay, for judicial ethics violations in fixing traffic tickets.

Attorneys for Hartsfield had argued before the court in January that Hartsfield should be suspended for less than two months. Nancy Vecchia, the attorney for the N.C. Judicial Standards Commission, argued that Hartsfield should be suspended for no less than six months, alleging that Hartsfield’s conduct is a “sufficient and significant abuse of power.”

Hartsfield is only the second judge to be suspended by the N.C. Supreme Court since that type of punishment was allowed in 2007.

Hartsfield, a Winston-Salem native, has been a district court judge for the past nine years and won re-election in 2010. Before becoming a judge, she had worked as an assistant county attorney, handling child support, abuse and neglect cases. She also worked as an assistant district attorney in Forsyth County for eight months and was a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society of Northwest North Carolina.

She is also an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law.

This article was written by Michael Hewlett and originally published by The Winston-Salem Journal. Click here to read more.