► Judge Jonathan Cleary of Lawrenceburg, IN; ethical misfit Print E-mail
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Judge Jonathan Cleary of Lawrenceburg, IN; ethical misfit


The state of Indiana presented Jonathan Neil Cleary with a law license in 2002.


In one matter, Judge Cleary is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by Carolyn Prakel and her deaf son, Steven Prakel.


Apparently, Cleary found it acceptable to refuse to appoint a court-funded sign language interpreter so that Mrs. Prakel son could understand what was taking place during the prosecution of his mother on a DUI (Driving under the Influence) charge.


The federal civil lawsuit against Cleary alleges a violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Prakels’ attorney, Matthew Lorch, stated that Steve Prakel was denied a sign language interpreter at two court hearings despite multiple requests.


In April 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker denied Cleary’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which will now proceed to a jury trial. In her ruling, Judge Barker said in part:


“Judge Cleary denied Mr. Prakel effective communication and the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the state courts’ services, programs, and activities.”


If a jury finds for the Prakels, they could be awarded compensatory damages.


As we speak (ca. August 2015), Cleary continues to sit as a Dearborn County Circuit Court judge in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. 

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