20 years ago this month
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for attending the premiere of a movie that had been the subject of a lawsuit over which she had presided and making a public comment about the suit while it was pending on appeal. Public Admonishment of Chirlin (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 28, 1995) (cjp.ca.gov/pubdisc.htm). The judge had presided over the jury trial of an action for breach of contract based on the withdrawal by the defendant, actress Kim Bassinger, from the plaintiff’s movie “Boxing Helena,” which was completed and released with a different female lead. There was a verdict for the plaintiff on March 23, 1993, and the defendants filed a notice of appeal on July 16. In August, the judge attended the premiere of the movie at the plaintiff’s invitation, which the media noted. In a newspaper article that appeared while the appeal was pending, the judge was quoted as saying, “The fact of the matter is that throughout the trial, a significant portion of my rulings were in favor of Kim.”
- Granting a joint motion to accept findings of fact and recommendation, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded and fined a judge who dismissed 18 speeding tickets after ex parte communications with the defendants and dismissed 13 other traffic tickets. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Bowen, 662 So. 2d 551 (Mississippi 1995).