Based on the findings and recommendation of the hearing panel of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Arizona Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90 days for (1) using his official court e-mail account for campaign-related communications, including obtaining a campaign endorsement from an individual who was providing services to his court and using unprofessional and undignified language in the communications; (2) using improper campaign photographs; (3) handing out flyers at 2 official court events where he was acting in his judicial capacity; (4) posting campaign materials at a U.S. Post Office in contravention of federal law; (5) retaliating against his campaign opponent; (6) confronting a clerk about her support for his opponent; and (7) failing to disclose the incident involving the clerk to the Commission. In the Matter of Grodman, 2015 Ariz. LEXIS 319 (September 23, 2015).
The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for failing to timely act on over 20 matters, signing and submitting 7 false salary affidavits, receiving his salary in violation of the law on 13 occasions, and failing to prepare a progression plan in a case he had exempted from time goals. Public Admonishment of Reinholtzen(September 3, 2015).
Accepting a revised consent judgement, the Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, fined her $10,000, and ordered her to appear before it to be publicly reprimanded for (1) a rude and intemperate interaction with a store owner during her judicial election campaign and (2) removing court documents from a case file. The Court also ordered that she write a letter of apology to the store owner. Inquiry ConcerningSchwartz (2015).
Agreeing with the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance based on the judge’s agreement, the Mississippi Supreme Court removed a former chancery court judge based on his guilty plea in federal court to obstruction of justice, a felony, for his conduct related to a conservatorship matter pending before him. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Walker (September 3, 2015).
The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) allowing his name and judicial title to be used to promote the private interests of a bank and his family and continuing to serve as a director of the bank after he assumed the bench; (2) making public comments about 2 cases; (3) independently investigating alleged probation violations and becoming too involved in the state’s motion to revoke a defendant’s probation; (4) improper ex parte communications with a prosecutor in 1 case and a criminal defendant in another; (5) failing to comply with the Texas Fair Defense Act and the county indigent defense plan; (6) using official judicial letterhead to demand that a neighbor reimburse him for veterinary expenses; and (7) threatening to report a police officer to the probation department concerning a dispute between the officer’s children and relatives of the judge’s court reporter. Public Reprimand of Clifford (September 5, 2015).
In a letter to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, based on the evidence in a report by a special committee unanimously adopted by the Judicial Council of the 11th Circuit, the U.S. Judicial Conference determined that the impeachment of former judge Mark Fuller may be warranted for physically abusing his then-wife at least 8 times; making repeated false, material statements under oath before the investigative committee that he never hit, kicked, or punched his then-wife; and making false statements to the Chief Judge of the Eleventh Circuit in 2010 that caused “a massive disruption in the District Court’s operation and loss of public confidence in the Court as an instrument of justice.”