EDGEWOOD — Putting pressure on Edgewood Town Court to take action against an employee alleged to have made racist comments, Madison County’s prosecutor dismissed all 25 cases scheduled for the court Tuesday.
Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said last week that he would stop filing cases in the court after the chief court reporter, allegedly, made racist comments about a county deputy prosecutor on at least two occasions.
Cummings confirmed Tuesday that there would be no representative from his office at the regularly scheduled weekly court session conducted by Edgewood Town Court Judge Scott Norrick.
The prosecutor’s office will refile the dismissed cases in other courts, Cummings said. Norrick said last week that if no cases are filed, the town won’t be able to conduct court.
The racist comments, the prosecutor said last week, were made by court reporter Jaime Hudson in reference to deputy prosecutor Rosemary Khoury, who is Black and is assigned to the Edgewood court.
Norrick said Tuesday that town attorney Mike Austin indicated Indiana State Police were reviewing the matter and hadn’t yet agreed to conduct an investigation.
The probe “cannot be delayed,” Norrick wrote in a text message to The Herald Bulletin.
Hudson has been on paid administrative leave since Friday.
Becky Hughes, diversion program coordinator in the prosecutor’s office, hand-delivered on June 24 a written statement of the two alleged incidents to Norrick’s law office, according to Cummings.
Hughes alleged that, in May, Hudson said that she was tired of Khoury playing the “black card” and used an expletive and the “N-word” in reference to the deputy prosecutor. A copy of the statement was provided to The Herald Bulletin.
A second incident took place in June when Hudson again used the offensive terms in reference to Khoury, according to Hughes’ statement.
Hudson’s language, Cummings said, undermines the safe environment that should be provided for citizens and any employees of color at the court.
“I have no confidence that the fair and impartial administration of justice can occur when the person sitting next to the judge in court harbors such racist sentiments,” the prosecutor said in a press release.
Cummings said he informed Norrick of the allegations June 23 and that Hughes left a text message, voice mails and sent an email, all to Norrick, on June 23 but got no response.
She and Cummings were later notified that the town was handling the matter and that Hughes would have to file a grievance.
Cummings said Hudson should be terminated.
“She can’t be in the courtroom under any circumstances,” the prosecutor said, noting that he gave Norrick a week to resolve the situation before making the allegation public.
Cummings said the judge didn’t answer his phone or respond to text messages for three days. Norrick said he first learned of the allegations on June 24.
Norrick said last week he has conflicting report of what Hudson said from a member of the Edgewood court staff who was present for at least one of the incidents.
“If this (Hudson’s statement) turns out to be true, it was inappropriate,” the judge said.