Barnstable District Court Clerk Magistrate Robert Powers may be out of a lifetime job soon. Mr. Powers, the magistrate appointed by Governor Romney in 2007 has lost a disciplinary hearing conducted before Retired Judge Gordon Doerfer. Last January the Committee on Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Court formally charged Powers with failing to perform his duties. The committee cited his conduct as a clerk unpredictable, disrespectful and sometimes aggressive. Further the committee stated Powers failed to show up to work on time, failed to render timely decisions and was inappropriate to court clients. Powers now sits in Taunton court since the beginning of the disciplinary hearing. During the hearing judges, coworkers, other court staff and others testified against Mr. Powers. Many testified that they were yelled at or belittled by Powers in public. Calling his apology too little to late the prosecutor in this case asked the judge to recommend termination. Judge Doerfer found that the apology was insincere. The recommendation is now presented to the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts where they may accept the recommendation or issue their own discipline.
A removal of a clerk has only happened two other times and both times involved criminal charges.