A South Dakota circuit judge found to have violated ethics codes has decided to retire from the bench instead of serving probation.
The state Supreme Court last month ruled that Circuit Judge A.P. "Pete" Fuller" had to retire unless he agreed to undergo a six-month suspension followed by strict probation for misconduct that included mistreating lawyers, court personnel and others.
Fuller has issued a statement saying the suspension and probation could cost him as much as $174,500, and he does not have the financial ability to meet those terms. Fuller says he will retire from the bench and begin practicing as a lawyer next month.
The South Dakota Judicial Qualifications Commission had recommended that Fuller be removed from office. A lawyer for the commission has declined comment on Fuller's decision.