The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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August 31, 2009

Judge Bridges issued public reprimand

Sunday, August 30, 2009 — Superior Court Judge Kevin M. Bridges of Stanly County, who took office the first of the year after having served as District Court Judge, was issued a public reprimand by the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission (JSC) on Aug. 24.

In accordance with the Rules of JDS, a judge has 20 days within which to accept the reprimand or reject it and demand, in writing, that disciplinary proceedings be instituted.

The JDS stated that Bridges cooperated fully with the investigation.

The action was the result of a written formal complaint from Mrs. Faye Gathings of Lilesville, who had handed out anti-Bridges political flyers at a Peoples Fest in Wadesboro on Oct. 11, 2008. The flyers were entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Vote For Kevin Bridges For Superior Court.” Gathings maintained that she personally designed, printed and passed out the flyers at the event.

On Oct. 17, 2008, Bridges, who was a District Court Judge at the time, issued a Order to Show Cause why Gathings should not be held in criminal contempt for her actions.

The order said that Gathings had willfully published court proceedings that were “grossly inaccurate” and presented “an imminent danger and serious threat to the administration of justice.” In addition, the order stated that Gathings had tampered with the electoral process in retaliation for a District Court ruling that was adverse to her.

After consulting with attorneys from both the State Board of Elections and the Attorney General’s Office, Bridges was advised that Gathings’ conduct could be considered political speech and therefore protected.

Based on this advise, Bridges dismissed the order on Oct. 24.

However, Gathings continued with her formal complaint to the JSC.

During their investigation, the JSC concluded that Gathings’s flyers did not include any specific reference to or refer to any specific court case involving Judge Bridges and her.

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