5 years ago this month:
- Based on an agreement for discipline by consent, the Maryland Court of Appeals suspended a judge for 5 work days without pay for deflating the tire of an automobile parked in the parking space reserved for him at the courthouse. In the Matter of Nalley, 999 A.2d 182 (Maryland 2010). The Court’s order does not describe the judge’s conduct; the agreement and other pleadings are at mdcourts.gov/cjd/publicactions.html.
- Accepting the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, to which the judge consented, the Michigan Supreme Court censured a judge for releasing a county commissioner on his own recognizance on a day the judge was not scheduled to do arraignments and following a series of calls from another county commissioner. In re Logan, 783 N.W.2d 705 (Michigan 2010).
- Adopting the findings of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 14 days without pay and censured him for dismissing 30 family law cases as the time guidelines threshold approached to avoid those cases being identified as out of compliance, while continuing to work on the cases. In re Halloran, 783 N.W.2d 709 (Michigan 2010).
- Based on the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Nebraska Supreme Court removed a judge from office for interfering in a criminal case against a softball coach and a juvenile case involving a softball player. In re Florom, 784 N.W.2d 897 (Nebraska 2010).
- Agreeing with the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline based on the parties’ stipulations, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge from the practice of law for 1 year for (1) improperly investigating a criminal matter pending in his court; (2) failing to act in a patient, dignified, and courteous manner; (3) using his position to pressure persons into action; (4) improperly handling proceedings to appoint counsel for indigent defendants; (5) comments that gave the impression that 3 defendants were remanded into custody due to a failure on the part of the county commissioners; (6) placing a defendant in a holding cell until he was ready to discuss her case; (7) creating the appearance that he was trying to force the mayor to execute a law director’s contract; (8) involving himself in the formulation of charges against a defendant; and (9) badgering 2 defendants about their eligibility for appointed counsel. The Court stayed 6 months of the suspension on the condition that the judge commit no further violations for 12 months. Disciplinary Counsel v. Campbell, 931 N.E.2d 558 (Ohio 2010).
- Accepting the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former judge from the practice of law for 1-year (with 6 months stayed) for (1) failing to maintain or provide complete records of the proceedings in his courtroom, (2) unreasonably delaying compliance with a mandate of the court of appeals on remand, (3) engaging in an improper ex parte communication with a prosecutor, (4) expressing an opinion on an issue of fact in the jury’s presence, berating defense counsel during closing argument, and refusing to grant a mistrial based upon his own prejudicial conduct, and (5) refusing to accept a guilty plea for a misdemeanor speeding violation based upon his mistaken belief that the prosecutor was statutorily required to charge the defendant with a greater offense. Disciplinary Counsel v. Plough, 931 N.E.2d 575 (Ohio 2010).
- The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline ordered that a judge be suspended for 60 days without pay for “scary” conduct “akin to stalking” toward 4 female lawyers and a 17-year-old girl who had appeared in his court; the Court also placed him on probation until December 31, 2011. In re Alonge, Opinion, (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline June 18, 2010), Order (July 21, 2010) (www.cjdpa.org/decisions/jd09-04.html).
- Based on an agreement, the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded a judge for hiring her daughter as her court officer, without competitive consideration of other qualified applicants, and authorizing her to be paid a salary commensurate with the position even though she had no experience or training. In re Dumas, Reprimand (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary July 16, 2010) (tsc.state.tn.us/geninfo/COJ/COJindex.htm#publicPleadings).