Salt Lake justice court Judge Virginia Ward was under investigation by the DEA for selling oxycodone and has now been removed from the bench pending the outcome of the criminal case.
But following the charges, defense attorneys are now questioning her judgment as she ruled on their cases.
“It makes you wonder if she was under the influence at the time she was making some of these decisions," says Paul Grant a defense attorney who has come before Judge Ward numerous times.
The DEA was investigating Ward. In April when Ward was arrested the head of Salt Lake’s DEA said Ward was part of a large ring operating in the west.
“When they're (oxycodone) abused in this nature its synthetic heroin,” says Frank Smith. “It's something that's extremely addictive and it does affect our society.”
A defense attorney already filed a motion to review one of Judge Ward's rulings that impacted the case.
“One of the concerns is the judge is making judgment calls on issues and what is her impairment,” says Clayton Simms a defense attorney. “Is she able to make calls on factual disputes?”
The motion was denied by a different judge but Simms plans to appeal the ruling.
Another defense attorney is also concerned with her rulings.
“Certainly we'll reevaluate the cases, look at them and see if any of her decisions were arbitrary,” says Paul Grant.
Meanwhile, Ward made her initial appearance in Salt Lake but the case has now been transferred to Tooele.