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BETHEL, Alaska-Again for the second time in less than four years, a Bethel Judge has been accused of improper communications. District Court Judge Dennis Cummings is under scrutiny for communicating with a Dsitrict Attorney out of court about an appeals court ruling. The incident occurred in June of this year. The Judicial Conduct Commission filed the complaint.
According to reports, Cummings talked with District Attorney Ben Wohlfeil, urging him to read appeal opinions from the Court of Appeals because they directly dealt with issues that the prosecutor had before the judge.
The prosecutor reported the incident to his supervisor, Richard Svobodny, Svobodny filed a complaint with the Judicial Commission.
The same judge was suspended in July of 2009 after it was found that he had passed a note to a State Trooper who was a witness in a domestic violence case before him.
Cummings was suspended for that incident for a period of three months. After undergoing conduct training at his own expense as ordered by the Judicial Commission, he returned to the bench the same year.
According to the Judicial Commissions Executive Director, Maria Greenstein, never in the history of the judicial system in Alaska has a judge ever been accused of improper communications by the commission she heads.
Cummings has 20 days to respond, at which time a formal hearing will scheduled.