Recent cases

  • Based on a stipulated resolution, the Arizona Supreme Court censured a justice of the peace for failing to disclose that he jointly owned property with a litigant in 2 proceedings.  In 2012, a litigant who had appeared in the judge’s court, acquired a mining claim in his name and the judge’s name.  Although he initially placed the judge’s name on the claim without the judge’s knowledge, the litigant later disclosed this interest to the judge.  Subsequently, when the litigant appeared before the judge as a plaintiff in 2 separate protective order proceedings, the judge did not disclose their joint property ownership to the other party.
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 7 days without pay for raising a bond without providing notice and for abusing her contempt power.  The judge set a $25,000 bond for a defendant.  Later that day, after learning the defendant’s mother had arrived at the clerk’s office to pay the bond, the judge instructed the clerk’s office to increase it to $50,000, without notice or a hearing.  When the deputy clerk told her that the bond had increased, the mother called the judge a “bitch” outside the judge’s presence.  At the arraignment that afternoon, the judge asked the defendant’s mother to approach the bench and then asked if she had called the judge a “bitch” in the clerk’s office.  When the mother admitted making the statement, the judge found her in contempt and ordered her to serve 24 hours in jail, without notice, a hearing, or the opportunity to have legal counsel present.
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a non-lawyer judge for requesting leniency for his son from 2 law enforcement officers in 2 conversations.
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct reprimanded a judge for his practices regarding appointed counsel and other matters in criminal cases; an agreed cease and desist order was also entered.  The judge had required defendants to perform public service work to receive appointed counsel and sentenced them to jail for contempt if they did not complete the work; refused defendants’ requests for appointed counsel without holding an indigency hearing or considering their financial means; revoked defendants’ bonds if they requested appointed counsel; ordered cash-only bonds in violation of the law; allowed some defendants, as a requirement of probation or to obtain appointed counsel, to donate items to charities he specified; and required some defendants to waive their right to counsel and a jury trial to get a continuance.
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a former judge for receiving a discounted carpool parking rate when he did not in fact carpool.  The judge also agreed that he will reimburse the city the difference between the discounted rate and the regular rate and will not seek or hold any judicial office or perform any judicial duties without approval from the Commission.
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a judge for exchanging ex parte e-mails with a prosecutor and unnecessarily continuing a hearing in a case based on factors unrelated to the case.

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