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Judge Not Going Back After Having Sex in Chambers

By William Vogeler, Esq. on May 29, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Judge Thomas Estes was not performing legal research in chambers.

No, a social worker was allegedly performing oral sex on the judge. Tammy Cagle, who worked in the drug court with Estes, said the judge pressured her into it.

Estes has denied the accusation, but admitted they had a sexual relationship. Either way, this judge will not be going back to his chambers.

"Repeated Wrongdoing"

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Council suspended Estes from the bench. The council said his "grave, willful and repeated wrongdoing" has damaged the public's faith in the court system.

The wrongdoing came to light after Cagle sued the judge in federal court for allegedly pushing her out of her job when she tried to end the relationship. The judge denies that he had anything to with it.

In the meantime, however, the state's highest court is having nothing to do with the judge. He was suspended indefinitely and without pay.

"The sanction we impose is not severe because we seek to punish the judge severely, but because ... we seriously question whether he can command the respect and authority essential to the performance of his judicial function," the judges said.

Judge Hangs Up Robe

In the disciplinary proceedings, Estes had asked for a four-month suspension. He claimed his sexual relationship never impacted his judicial duties.

The high court suspended him effective June 15, giving the governor and lawmakers time to remove him from the bench. But Estes submitted his resignation the day after his suspension was announced.

He still has to sit through federal court proceedings in the civil suit. This time, however, he will be on the other side of the bench.

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