Mecklenburg District Judge John Totten said in a statement he is battling a life-threatening illness, and medications affected him when he made inappropriate comments to associates.
N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker, in an order dated July 15, rescinded the judge's March suspension. Totten reported back to work today.
Here is the judge's statement:
District Court Judge
In March, Supreme Court Justice Sarah Parker temporarily suspended me from my duties as District Court Judge as a result of inappropriate comments I made to some of my associates. They rightfully found my remarks offensive and I deeply regret having made those comments. Tomorrow I am returning to my duties as District Court Judge and can assure you that my future conduct will be above reproach.
In an April article, The Charlotte Observer wrote as follows:
Sources have said that Totten has been ill in recent months. He had been on medical leave from late October until he was allowed to return for half days in early January, a court official said. He has held court only seven days since going on medical leave, the court official said. Totten has never been publicly reprimanded and has never had formal charges filed against him.
All this is true, and let me provide additional details.
Since October, 2009 I have been battling Wegener's Granulomatosis, a life-threatening illness affecting lungs, kidneys and blood. I am thankful that with the aid of great doctors, chemotherapy, and high doses of steroids and other medications, I have made substantial progress.
Some of the effects of Wegener's disease have included severe inflammatory arthritis, anemia, damage to blood and kidneys and marked, significant mood swings. My doctors do believe a combination of medications and high doses of steroids severely impacted me during the period when the inapproppriate comments were made.
My doctors have recommended I return to work on a part-time schedule with the expectation that I will be able to return to the bench on a full-time basis in a month or so. I am grateful to the voters of Mecklenburg County for giving me the high honor of serving as District Judge, and I look forward to returning to work. I will exercise the same pfrofessionalism that I have always exhibited on the bench and, as I stated before, my conduct off the bench going forward will be above reproach.
I also express my deepest appreciation to friends and associates who have been so supportive during my illness and have helped see me through the trauma and embarassment of my temporary suspension.
- Doug Miller