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State Judge Facing Allegations Of Misconduct

Alison Redlich
AP File Photo
Judge A. Gregory Rainville denied wrongdoing after the Vermont Judicial Board claimed he wrongly altered a court document and dismissed a case.

A Vermont judge is facing allegations of misconduct after he allegedly altered a court hearing file to reflect events that did not happen.

The Vermont Judicial  Conduct Board filed a formal complaint against Judge A. Gregory Rainville, alleging that he violated three of five “judicial canons," or rules of conduct, for state judges.

In a divorce case, the board alleges, Rainville altered a hearing file weeks after the hearing to add a note that the husband in the case had been told to be present at a later hearing. The board alleges that “[t]his entry was not true.”

When the husband didn’t come to the next hearing, Rainville attempted to dismiss the case because the husband failed to comply.

The Vermont Supreme Court reversed Rainville’s dismissal of the case.

The conduct board said in its formal complaint that Rainville did not uphold his obligation to maintain high standards of conduct.

“This is evidenced by his untrue, self-serving, after-the-fact Entry Order stating that [the husband] was told to be present at the next hearing,” the complaint said.

The complaint alleges that Rainville violated Judicial Canons 1-3 of the Vermont Code of Judicial Conduct.

Rainville denies wrongdoing and claims that “[t]he ‘entry order’ was not an order at all. It was never intended to be sent to the parties. Rather it was a reflection of the judge’s recollection of the events at the December 15, 2011 hearing,” according to a filing in his defense by his attorney, Richard Rubin.

Rainville is facing the allegations in a Burlington courtroom before the state’s Judicial Conduct Board Thursday and Friday.

According to statute, that board may impose a range of possible sanctions if it finds Rainville violated the code of conduct, including "written warning, public reprimand, limitations or conditions on the performance of judicial duties, suspension for a portion or all of the remainder of the judge's term in office, or other appropriate sanctions."

Any suspension the board imposes must be affirmed by the Vermont Supreme Court before it is finalized. Either side can appeal the board’s decision to the Supreme Court.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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