Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulation, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) a pattern of hostile behavior towards court security officers and employees; (2) abusive behavior to court employees; (3) refusing to issue bench warrants during traffic arraignments when defendants failed to appear; (4) permitting his trial court administrative assistant to behave unprofessionally and condoning and assisting her in violating court policies; (5) making inappropriate comments manifesting gender bias during a domestic violence arraignment; (6) waiving a priori supervised probation costs for all criminal cases; (7) improperly disqualifying himself from at least 223 traffic cases; and (8) failing to adhere to almost all provisions of the Commission orders and directives. In the Matter of Barnhart, Order (New Mexico Supreme Court September 8, 2005).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a former non-lawyer village court justice who (1) made gratuitous comments about a defendant’s race and (2) brought a young, female defendant to his home after an arraignment. In the Matter of Pennington, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 7, 2005).  The judge had resigned on the date the hearing on the formal charges was scheduled; neither the judge nor his counsel appeared at the hearing.
  • Based on an agreement for discipline, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days without pay for (1) finding a defendant guilty based only on the law enforcement incident report and re-opening the case based on an ex parte communication with the defendant’s attorney; (2) allowing unrepresented defendants to plead guilty or be convicted solely on the basis of incident reports; (3) meeting with a public official to recommend a law enforcement officer for a promotion; (4) failing to schedule bond hearings twice a day; (5) conveying a message from his father-in-law, an attorney, to a highway trooper about a ticket received by a friend of the judge’s brother-in-law; and (6) omitting reference to relaying the message to the trooper from his response to Disciplinary Counsel. In the Matter of Beckham, 620 S.E.2d 69 (South Carolina 2005).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a judge for demeanor toward litigants and/or counsel in 3 cases that could be perceived as intimidating, impatient, and/or harsh. In the Matter of Canada-Thurston, Stipulation, agreement, and order of admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 9, 2005).
  • Pursuant to a former part-time judge’s agreement not to seek or serve in any position performing judicial function without first securing the Commission’s approval, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct closed an investigation of information that, while serving as a part-time judge, the judge permitted or failed to prevent posting of potentially undignified materials of himself and a family member on a site on the Internet that could be embarrassing to him and bring the judiciary into disrepute. In the Matter of Sowards, Stipulation, agreement, and order of closure (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 9, 2005).  The judge had resigned in June.

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