Campaign Donations Won't Force JusticeOff CU Case

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - (09/15/04) -- State Supreme Court Judge Jean Brownrefused to recuse herself from a $1 million defamation case againstFirst Security CU, even though bankers supporting the credit unionside contributed more than $56,000 to her reelection campaign. "TheCanons of Judicial Ethics do not require my recusal; case law doesnot support it; and my conscious will now allow it," said Brownlast Friday, after the court refused to rehear the case based on anethics complaint brought against her. Last May the state's highcourt overturned a lower court's $1 million verdict against thecredit union in which a former manager claimed she was wronglydismissed for blowing the whistle on a multi-million dollarcheck-kiting scheme involving a local car dealer. But afterlearning of campaign donations from the Alabama BankersAssociation, which argued on behalf of the credit union side, theformer manager, Karen Brackin, asked the court to rehear the case.She claimed the bankers' campaign contributions created animpropriety, if not an appearance of impropriety by thejudge.

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