10 years ago this month:
- Accepting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on stipulated facts and the judge’s agreement, the Louisiana Supreme Court censured a judge who accepted campaign contributions and failed to use a committee to solicit and accept contributions and whose minute clerk solicited contributions and organized a campaign fund-raiser. In re Cannizzaro, 901 So. 2d 1035 (Louisiana 2005).
- Acting on a complaint filed by the Judicial Conduct Board and stipulated facts, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a former judge for (1) working to have his wife appointed as his successor and (2) charitable fund-raising. In re Hartman, Opinion (February 11, 2005), Order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline May 18, 2005). The judge had personally requested political officials, a law enforcement official, an assistant public defender, and numerous county Republican officials to write a letter to the presiding judge, a state senator, or “To Whom It May Concern” urging support for the appointment of his wife. The judge had also permitted his office and courtroom to be used for organizational meetings for the annual area Halloween Parade and personally collected money at the courthouse for T-shirts sold for fund-raising and for charitable activities, including the 50th Anniversary of the Lions Club, the Lions Club Community Steak Fry, and the Great Slatington Duck Race.
- Acting on a complaint filed by the Judicial Conduct Board and stipulated facts, the Pennsylvania Court on Judicial Discipline banned a former magistrate judge from holding judicial office for 5 years for parking her car on several occasions at expired parking meters and placing on the windshield of her car parking tickets that had been issued to others. In re Harrington, Opinion (March 2, 2005), Order (Pennsylvania Court on Judicial Discipline May 18, 2005). On February 24, 20014, for example, at 11:15 a.m., the judge’s red Subaru (with vanity plates “MOIRA”) was parked at an expired meter in downtown Pittsburgh until approximately 1:30 p.m. There was a parking ticket on the windshield, but it had been issued to a black Nissan SUV the previous day at 8:41 a.m. at a different location. When the judge came out of the YMCA, she took the parking ticket off the windshield, got into the vehicle, and drove away. All of the occasions were recorded and telecast by a local TV station. The Court stated, “no one would consider parking at an expired meter to be a heinous crime, but it is the very triviality of the offense which makes Respondent’s determination to defeat its application to her so unbecoming a judicial officer.”