Judge convicted for interfering in family members’ case fined just $25

Prosecutors had asked for the judge to be sentenced to six months in jail and to be given a $2,500 fine

A judge who was found to have tried to bribe prosecutors in a case which involved his family members has been ordered to pay a fine of $25 (£18).

Kayenta Judicial District Court Judge Roy Tso, from Navajo Nation, has also been ordered to forfeit his position. He was found guilty of abusing his office in December, but the sentencing order was given earlier this month.

According to prosecutors, Tso interfered in a burglary investigation which involved his sister and niece. He also tried to bribe a prosecutor to drop the charges.

However the judge has denied any wrongdoing and previously said he only inquired about his niece to ensure she received her medication.

But Tso was placed on leave in October 2013 after the Office of the Chief Prosecutor launched an investigation into possible misconduct, the Farmington Daily Newpaper reported.

During the trial where he was convicted in December 2015, prosecutor Richard Wade reportedly said: “If you allow a clear injustice to occur, that judges somehow or another are treated with a lighter hand, it undermines the whole judicial system.”

“It undermines the confidence that Navajo Nation people should have in the judicial system,” he said, according to the Farmington Daily Newspaper.

Shiprock District Court Judge Genevieve Woody said the lesser fine of $25 was appropriate because Tso had been on unpaid leave. However, prosecutors had asked for the judge to be sentenced to six months in jail and to be given a fine of $2,500.

According to AP, Tso’s attorney is planning to appeal the conviction.