Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for his tone during an eviction trial, failing to afford either party a fair opportunity to be heard, and simultaneously entering judgment for the defendant and dismissing a case without prejudice. Fletcher, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct August 14, 2015).
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 180 days without pay for (1) presiding over a case for over 3 years even though he had an oil and gas lease agreement with one of the corporate defendants and had a dispute with the corporation; (2) numerous calls to the city police department, numerous inappropriate communications with employees of a newspaper, numerous inappropriate interactions with elected officials and city employees, and numerous inappropriate communications with a TV channel manager complaining that programs were politically motivated; (3) leaving voicemail messages for an attorney who regularly practiced before him and referring to the attorney as a “coward” and “prick;” (4) inappropriate political activity; (5) 2 months after a case was voluntarily dismissed, engaging in an ex parte communication with an attorney in the case and then holding a status hearing during which he questioned another attorney about his motivation for bringing the lawsuit and accused him of engaging in unethical behavior by issuing improper subpoenas; (6) despite expressing interest in the outcome of a challenge to an election for city commission and criticizing the incumbent candidate, entering a final judgment disqualifying a candidate and naming the successful candidate; and (7) presiding over 17 cases in which a company or one of its subsidiaries was a party even though he had a financial relationship with the company and testifying under oath in a temporary suspension hearing before the Commission that he had disclosed the relationship on the record even though there was no disclosure in the pleadings or recorded hearings. In re Combs, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission October 1, 2015).
  • The Minnesota Supreme Court removed a judge for failing to reside within his judicial district and making a knowingly false statement regarding his residency in his affidavit of candidacy. Inquiry in the Conduct of Pendleton (Minnesota Supreme Court October 14, 2015).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for (1) sending an e-mail to the county Republican chair offering her election opponent legal impunity, paid legal expenses, and a political endorsement if she withdrew her complaint about the judge’s ballot petitions and (2) a Facebook post directing an offensive term to her opponent. Public Warning of Wright and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 22, 2015).
  • Following a trial de novo, a Texas Special Court of Review dismissed charges that a judge’s comments about pending cases on her Facebook page violated the code of judicial conduct. In re Slaughter, Opinion (Special Court of Review Appointed by the Texas Supreme Court September 30, 2015).
  • Following a de novo proceeding, a Texas Special Court of Review reprimanded a former judge for (1) a pattern of leaving the bench and failing to communicate with counsel and defendants waiting in the courtroom about when or whether she would return; (2) refusing to allow an attorney to appear in her courtroom while he was attired in shorts due to a visible and obvious medical impairment; (3) ordering her bailiff to restrain and detain a prosecutor who was 8 months pregnant to prevent her from taking a break; (4) referring to an attorney as a “liar” in open court and ordering the bailiff to remove him; (5) filing a motion for reconsideration in a case in which her recusal had been ordered; and (6) improperly requiring some defendants to pay some portion of fines or costs before she would accept their plea bargains. In re Mullin, Opinion (Special Court of Review Appointed by the Texas Supreme Court October 21, 2015).

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