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Falmouth judge placed on leave

Falmouth District Judge Michael Creedon
FALMOUTH — The first justice of Falmouth District Court has been off the bench for more than a month after being placed on administrative leave, according to a spokeswoman for the state Trial Court.

Judge Michael Creedon was placed on leave June 30 after meeting with District Court Chief Justice Paul Dawley in response to a complaint filed against him with the Commission on Judicial Conduct, according to Trial Court spokeswoman Jennifer Donahue. Judge Kathryn Hand, who is first justice of Barnstable District Court, has been appointed acting first justice in the Falmouth court, Donahue said.

“The allegations have been reported to the Commission on Judicial Conduct,” Donahue said, declining to comment on the nature of the alleged misconduct.

Creedon did not respond to a voicemail left at his Cotuit home.

The Commission on Judicial Conduct is the agency responsible for investigating allegations that a state court judge has engaged in judicial misconduct or is incapable of properly performing judicial duties.

Creedon, a former lawyer, state representative and senator, was sworn in as first justice of Falmouth District Court in December 1999, replacing Judge Richard P. Kelleher, who retired. He is only the second person to hold that position at the court, which was created in 1996 and handles cases from Falmouth, Bourne and Mashpee.

Creedon, who attended Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., graduated from Harvard University in 1969 before receiving his law degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1975.

Before becoming a judge, Creedon practiced law in Brockton and was elected to the House of Representatives for that district in 1974. He served in the House until 1988 and then served four terms in the state Senate for the 2nd Plymouth and Bristol District until 1996.

He was appointed by Gov. William Weld in 1996 as a circuit judge for district courts in Attleboro, Hingham, Plymouth and Brockton before being named presiding judge in Falmouth. In Massachusetts, judges are required to retire at the age of 70. Creedon is slated for retirement Nov. 3.

Anyone may file a written complaint about a judge with the Commission on Judicial Conduct. The complaint is then screened by the commission staff to to determine if it is frivolous or warrants docketing.

Even if a complaint is docketed, the system is structured so that allegations against a judge, results of an investigation or discipline may never be known unless the judge chooses to contest them publicly.

If an investigation by the commission finds there is a cause for discipline, a judge could be privately reprimanded. An "agreed disposition" requires the agreement of the judge and often includes a period when the commission places conditions on the judge's conduct, which could include counseling, education, assignment of a mentor judge, monitoring by the commission for a specified period of time, voluntary retirement or other conditions, according to the commission’s website.

If the judge and commission do not agree on a disposition, there could be a public hearing, or the judge could choose to submit the matter directly and confidentially to the Supreme Judicial Court, according to the commission.

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Falmouth judge placed on leave

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Falmouth judge placed on leave


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