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Judge Who Had Affair in Courthouse Hanging On, But Court, Legislature, Governor, and Governor’s Council May Cut Him Loose

A judge who admitted to having a sexual affair with a social worker who worked in a special drug court overseen by the judge is trying to keep his job, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court may decide differently.

The judge’s affair included acts that took place in the courthouse.

The state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct is asking the state’s highest court to approve an indefinite suspension of Judge Thomas Estes to give state legislators time to consider removing him as a judge permanently, according to MassLive.com.

To remove the judge requires a “bill of address” to be approved by the Massachusetts Legislature, as well as the approval of Governor Charlie Baker (who has already announced his support) and the Governor’s Council. Removal of a judge in Massachusetts is extremely rare.

Estes was already on the hot seat because of a case in 2016 when he sentenced a former high school athlete to probation — but no jail time — after the defendant pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two classmates.

The judge’s lawyer, David Hoose, argues that the affair “had no impact on Estes’ judicial duties,” according to MassLive.com, which quotes the lawyer as saying that the formal evaluations of the judge are “nothing short of superlative.”

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