Recent news

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for being terse with the litigants at the start of a judgment debtor’s examination, making mocking and demeaning comments to the judgment debtor, and continuing with the examination even after learning that the judgment debtor had filed for bankruptcy prior to the hearing date. Williams, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 22, 2015).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct reprimanded a judge for having an ex parte conversation with a Department of Child Safety caseworker and, without allowing the parties an opportunity to be heard, issuing a ruling in a family law case that cited the information learned in the conversation as a basis for denying the relief the mother sought. Garcia, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 12, 2015).  The Department confirmed that the information in the judge’s order was incorrect.  The judge admitted that contacting Department caseworkers off the record and outside the presence of the parties is her typical practice on her family law calendar.
  • Adopting the findings of 3 masters, the California Commission on Judicial Performance severely censured a judge for calling the county jail and ordering the own recognizance release of a person he knew socially.  Inquiry Concerning Petrucelli, Decision and order (August 18, 2015).
  • Based on the judge’s admission of the factual allegations, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a judge for not filing state and federal tax returns for 5 years, failing to remit approximately $130 in sales tax owed by a shoe store she owed, opening the store without a license, and pleading guilty to 3 misdemeanors (for dismissing her own parking tickets) and 1 summary offense (the business license violation). In re Ballentine, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline August 4, 2015).  In 2013, the Court had placed her on probation for dismissing the parking tickets and ordered her to reimburse the Commonwealth for the compensation she had received while suspended with pay.
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former supreme court justice based on her conviction of theft/diversion of service, criminal conspiracy, and misapplication of entrusted property, as reported in previous up-dates.  In re Orie Melvin, Opinion and order (August 14, 2015).  Her conviction became final in October when she discontinued her appeal of her sentence. The criminal charges arose from her use of her judicial staff and the legislative staff of her sister, at the time a state senator, in her 2003 and 2009 campaigns for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

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