Court panel recommends removal of Rhode Island judge
A 240 page report put together by 14 members of the Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline recommends that District Court Judge Rafael Ovalles should be removed from the bench.
Ovalles sat through weeks of testimony earlier this year accused of many violations including sexually harassing women and being caught with his pants down in his chamber. After months of deliberation the commission found he committed 41 violations of the judicial code of conduct. The vote to remove as a judge was 13 to 1.
"There has been a decision made and in order for that decision to be changed only the supreme court of the state can change it,” said ABC 6 News legal analyst Ken Schreiber.
From here, Ovalles has 20 days to reject or modify the commission's report. After that, the commission has 20 days to file a rebuttal. And, from there the Supreme court will have 90 days to review the findings and recommendation.
"This case still has I think a long way to go. Each one of these 41 violations is going to be looked at, scrutinized and detailed to make sure that the supreme court feels, the 5 justices sitting there, that A. when the committee came to their decision to prosecutor met his burden of proof and B. there weren't any mistakes or errors of law,” said Schreiber.
Angel Taveras, a member of Ovalles legal team issued the following statement:
'We strongly disagree with the Commission's process and recommendation in this matter and will pursue all legal remedies available to Judge Ovalles…We would point out that Judge Ovalles was vindicated on the most salacious allegation in the Commission's Complaint. The Commission conceded that Judge Ovalles never removed his pants in chambers and ‘was not seen by staff with his pants removed.’ (Findings of Fact, Workplace Conduct, No. 16; p. 123) The allegation in the Commission's Complaint regarding Judge Ovalles' ‘propensity to remove his pants’ in chambers was shown to be patently false.”