To the editor:
Your article dated April 30 regarding the termination of Mr. (Charles) Bridges as public defender contains certain confusions or misstatements, which should be clarified.
I did not and do not allege a conflict of interest but rather the appearance of impropriety.
A situation such as this can be but is not necessarily both.
However, a judge is charged to avoid either or both if possible.
Before taking this action, I asked Mr. Bridges is he obtained any opinion about this from any person or agency with authority on ethical issues, and he stated that he had, but only insofar as it related to the position he may be in if he is elected judge and assumes the bench.
What happens after Dec. 31, 2008 is not my responsibility and I express no opinion on that matter.
Bridges further specifically said that no opinion was obtained about the situation now, while was public defender, as he had not even considered that it might pose a problem.
Therefore, neither Ms. Babcock (Meg Babcock, counsel to the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications) nor anyone else with authority has, to my knowledge, expressed any opinion inconsistent with mine.
Of course, anyone and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but only I, as judge, am required to have one and act on it if I find that the integrity of the judicial system is at issue.
This is a responsibility that is not pleasant to have to meet at times like this, but I believe that I have done so in the only manner that is both appropriate and available to me.
Robert J. Lowe
Judge, Putnam Superior Court