10 years ago this month:
- Approving a joint stipulation and the recommendation of the investigative panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) suggesting to the husband of his election opponent that she reconsider her candidacy, that he had a lot of money for his campaign and had locations lined up for his campaign signs, and that losing the election would affect his retirement and grandchildren; (2) incorrectly asserting in campaign literature the number of jury trials over which he had presided; (3) frequently starting scheduled first appearance hearings late; (4) leaving an arraignment to conduct a campaign interview; (5) insisting that a hearing begin in the absence of one of the attorneys even though the judge had begun the call early; (6) issuing a bench warrant with a $100,000 bond when an expert witness in a small claims case failed to appear despite the disarray in the trial schedule caused by hurricanes; and (7) repeatedly exhibiting rudeness and impatience with counsel, witnesses, and parties. The Court also ordered the judge to complete suitable anger management counseling. Inquiry Concerning Woodard, 919 So. 2d 389 (Florida 2006).
- Accepting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court censured a judge who, in 2 serious felony cases, ordered expungements without notice, without convening mandatory contradictory hearings, and without making a legal and factual inquiry as to whether expungement was authorized by law. In re Elloie, 921 So. 2d 882 (Louisiana 2006).
- Based on the decision and recommendation for discipline by the Judicial Tenure Commission to which the judge consented, the Michigan Supreme Court censured a judge for raising questions regarding the moral fiber of a judicial candidate and her husband without any first-hand knowledge or independent verification of the truth or falsity of the representations. In the Matter of Fortinberry, 708 N.W.2d 96 (Michigan 2006).
- Based on a stipulation and the recommendation of a panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) his attempt to broker a “settlement” of allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in a felony prosecution, his discussions of the case with the media, and his dismissal of the case after the prosecution refused to pay costs of retrial, and (2) ruling on a former client’s motion to terminate his prison sentence. Disciplinary Counsel v. Runyan, 840 N.E.2d 623 (Ohio 2006).
- Pursuant to an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court reprimanded a former judge for (1) finding pro se defendants guilty solely on the basis of police incident reports; (2) signing a terminated court employee’s name to a time sheet and paying sick leave to the employee; (3) suggesting that a highway trooper “help” a court employee who had received a ticket; (4) authorizing a court employee to sign another magistrate’s name to dismiss a ticket; (5) directing that an arresting officer be found without making similar efforts to find a defendant when neither appeared in a case; (6) allowing profits from a vending machine to be used for office expenses rather than, as required by law, for expenditures authorized in an annual budget approved by the governing body of the jurisdiction; (7) issuing warrants charging violation of a statute when defendants failed to appear for traffic court and did not post bond; (8) suspending a fine for a friend in a traffic case even though the friend did not appear at trial; (9) releasing prisoners from the county detention center without any legal basis for doing so; (10) holding special bond hearings; and (11) negotiating a settlement with a defendant and his father. In the Matter of English, 625 S.E.2d 919 (South Carolina 2006).