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Judge Boone to take indefinite leave of absence from bench

April 21, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Circuit Court Judge W. Kennedy Boone III is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the bench.
File photo

HAGERSTOWN — Washington County Circuit Court Judge W. Kennedy Boone III said Thursday he is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the bench for personal reasons.

“I’ve got some family problems. My wife has some health issues, and I have my own problems,” Boone said Thursday.

The judge said he requested the leave of absence last week.

Boone said his decision did not involve any violation of a deferred disciplinary agreement reached between him and the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities and presented to the state Judicial Inquiry Board.

 The agreement announced earlier this year called for him to take Breathalyzer tests before going on the bench, as well as refraining from alcohol and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at least five times a week.

“I passed all of my Breathalyzer tests,” Boone said.

Boone pleaded guilty in Washington County District Court last year to a 2009 charge of driving under the influence and was sentenced to three years’ probation and a $1,000 fine.

The judge had been charged by Hagerstown police on Nov. 5, 2009, following a two-vehicle accident on Prospect Street.

 At this point, Boone said he does not know how long he will be off work. He said one issue he has had to deal with recently is stress.

“I’ll know more next week after I see a doctor,” Boone said. “I hope in a couple of weeks we can figure things out ... Hopefully, it won’t be that long.”

Boone, 69, said he has considered early retirement and has to retire next year when he turns 70, but he plans to return to the bench.

While not on the bench, Boone said he has been into the office this week to take care of some legal loose ends.

“I have a couple of opinions I have to get out,” Boone said. “I’ve gotten most of the stuff I’ve got to handle off the table.”

In his absence, Boone said retired Judge Frederick C. Wright III will be available over the next few weeks to hear cases.

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