Judge reprimanded DWI cases scandal

Judge Kristin Ruth's booking photo (Image courtesy Wake County Sheriff's Office)

December 17, 2012 3:23:42 PM PST
A former Wake County Superior Court judge was reprimanded Monday for her role in a DWI case scandal that rocked the courthouse.

While Kristin Ruth pleaded guilty in July to a misdemeanor charge of failing to discharge the duties of her office, the criminal case against her was continued - meaning she will face no sentence if she does not break the law again.

But, Ruth was reprimanded by the North Carolina State Bar and ordered not to seek judicial office again.

Ruth resigned from the bench earlier this year after admitting she improperly signed dozens of orders put before her by attorney James Crouch without reading them.

Ruth said she did it because she trusted Crouch.

Crouch was sentenced to 12-34 months in prison after pleading guilty to altering court documents so clients convicted of drunk driving could forgo license suspensions or have those suspensions shortened.

The charges included two felony counts of obstruction of justice, one felony count of conspiracy, and one felony count of altering documents. He has also lost his license to practice law.

In one case, prosecutors said Crouch's scheme kept a man convicted of DWI from being considered for an ignition interlock system designed to keep him off the road when he was drunk.

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