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Judge would be better off studying ethics of Tony Soprano

Belleville News Democrat

Wednesday, July 11, 2018  |  Editorial  |  By the BND Editorial Board

Candidates--Judicial (27b)
St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert is far from getting back on the bench, but he just dodged a bullet when felony sex abuse and intimidation charges were dropped.

He was accused of offering a $100 discount off the legal bill of a client in exchange for sex, but the "victim" derailed the charges because he was too intimidated to face Duebbert at trial. Another former client made the same claim.

And then there is the former housemate he took in despite the guy being on the violent offender registry. That guy is now charged with murder.

Duebbert may be the victim of a political vendetta as his defense lawyer claims. He has multiple targets on his back being Republican and gay and unseating the Democrat who was formerly the chief judge as well as the county board chairman.

Conspiracy, sex, power: It kind of reminds you of "The Sopranos" TV series. It also makes you wonder whether Duebbert could have learned a few things from mob boss Tony Soprano.

Tony Soprano's position was twice threatened by two different ex-cons returning to the scene. He set one up to violate parole and "disappeared" the other, or in other words stopped small problems before they became big problems.

Duebbert allowed an ex-con who was on the violent offender registry move into his house. Then the guy was charged with murder, and got police looking at whether Duebbert hindered the investigation. No charges were issued, but allowing the little problem to grow still has Duebbert on administrative duty while the Judicial Inquiry Board looks at the case.

Tony Soprano was setting up a car theft racket with an Italian mob family when he resists the mutual attraction to its female boss. As he explained to her in rough terms, you don't defecate where you eat.

Duebbert was accused in 1999 of trying to create a sexual liaison with a client. The same scenario in 2016 led to the dismissed criminal charge. Regardless of whether there was intimidation or unwanted advances or mutual attraction, you don't mix business with pleasure.

Time will tell whether Duebbert ever gets to judge a case. Time will tell if he emerges with his law license.

He may find himself with time to watch all six seasons, but maybe too late to learn much from Tony.