BOISE - The panel that disciplines judges in Idaho has exonerated a southern Idaho judge who sentenced a teen to probation for assaulting a football teammate in a controversial case earlier this year.
The Idaho Judicial Council announced Monday that an investigation into Fifth District Judge Randy Stoker found no misconduct. The decision was unanimous.
Stoker was widely criticized by some who thought a sentence for John R.K. Howard was too lenient and that the judge failed to recognize the racial implications of the case. Howard, who is white, was one of three defendants charged with sodomizing a disabled black teen with a clothes hanger in the locker room of a southern Idaho high school in 2015. A prosecutor later amended the charge against Howard to felony injury to a child, saying he didn't believe the case was racially or sexually motivated.
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