5 years ago this month:
- In an agreed disposition, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for confrontations with Georgia Bureau Investigation agents and prosecutors. In re Graham, Public reprimand (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission May 11, 2010).
- Adopting the findings of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly admonished a judge for taking action in a case against a family member. In the Matter of Council (New Jersey Supreme Court May 3, 2010). The judge was presiding over bail hearings when Celeste Jones appeared by video conference from the correctional center. The judge recognized Jones as a relative and acknowledged on the record that the relationship required his recusal. After the judge’s recusal, the assistant prosecutor advised the public defender, on the record and in the judge’s presence, that the matter had been downgraded to a disorderly persons offense. The judge then recalled Jones and received the consent of the assistant prosecutor and the public defender to release Jones on her own recognizance. The Committee noted it gave weight to the judge’s testimony that he released Jones to avert her unnecessary incarceration, questioning the court’s policy of not having back-up judges available to be called when a sitting judge has a conflict. However, the Committee stated, “the fact remains that Respondent knowingly engaged in a conflict of interest. While we acknowledge Respondent’s perception of his conduct as ministerial in nature given the Assistant Prosecutor’s decision to downgrade Ms. Jones’s offense to a disorderly persons, the nature of the judicial act as non-discretionary is of no consequence to our analysis. . . .”
- The Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission’s order, based on a stipulation, reprimanding a judge for increasing the sentence of a defendant who stated he intended to request a trial de novo. In re Ridge (Utah Supreme Court May 12, 2010).
- Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for comments to 2 female attorneys. In re Henry, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 14, 2010). After an attorney casually told the judge that she did not enjoy camping, he replied, “Oh, if I got you stripped naked in the lake and soaped you down, you’d like it.” Later that month, during the lunch hour, the judge took a different female attorney for a ride on his motorcycle, and during a break in the ride, asked if he could kiss her, which she declined.
- Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for delay in 2 cases. In re Sheldon, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 14, 2010).
- Based on a stipulation, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a former judge following his conviction on 1 misdemeanor count of patronizing a prostitute and 1 count of felony harassment; the Commission also recommended that the Supreme Court disqualify the judge from future judicial office. The judge had resigned after being convicted of the criminal charges. In re Hecht, Decision (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 14, 2010).