5 years ago this month:
- Based on a stipulation of facts and waiver of hearing, the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities released its private reprimand of a judge for marrying the victim and defendant in a domestic violence case and, after dismissing the case based on marital privilege, stating to the defendant, “I earlier today sentenced you to life — marriage to her.” The judge agreed to retire on or before December 18, 2011, and not to sit as a retired judge after his retirement. In the Matter of Russell, Private Reprimand (Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities January 10, 2011).
- Pursuant to the judge’s agreement and a stipulation of facts and waiver of hearing, the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities made public the private reprimand of a judge for driving while intoxicated and being involved in an automobile accident; the judge also agreed to comply with the conditions of a deferred discipline agreement that required he attend at least 5 Alcoholic Anonymous meetings a week, abstain entirely from the consumption of alcohol, arrange and pay for daily breathalyser tests prior to his going on the bench, and work with a Commission-designated monitor judge. In the Matter of Boone, Private Reprimand (Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities January 17, 2011).
- With 2 justices recusing, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the November 2008 decision of the Commission on Judicial Discipline removing a former judge from office for (1) sleeping during trials; (2) ex parte contacts with deliberating juries in 2 cases, improper public comments to the media while one of the cases was pending, and false statements to the media in a post-trial interview; (3) using obscene terms to refer to employees in the presence of her bailiff; giving the bailiff $20 and telling him to “go play with the other bailiffs;” and requiring him to massage her feet, neck, and shoulders; (4) yelling at employees and using foul language in the presence of her assistant; (5) allowing 2 unauthorized individuals to gain access to the Regional Justice Center to serve as her body guards or security officers; (6) making false statements to a news reporter; and (7) prohibiting the chief judge from communicating with her except through her attorney, refusing to communicate or cooperate with the court administrator when he attempted to retrieve a rolodex from her office, and telling the police that “unauthorized personnel” were attempting to access her chambers. In the Matter of Halverson, Order of affirmance (Nevada Supreme Court January 31, 2011).
- Adopting the findings and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for failing to report his consensual, dating relationship with a bailiff he supervised, as required by court policy. In the Matter of Campbell, 10 A.3d 1201 (New Jersey 2011).
- Based on an agreed statement of fact and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct determined that censure was the appropriate sanction for a non-lawyer judge who intervened in an impending proceeding involving his son, engaged in an improper ex parte communication with the officer who was involved, and took judicial action in the matter. In the Matter of Allen, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 4, 2011).
- The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct determined that removal was the appropriate sanction for a non-lawyer judge who failed to deposit and remit court funds in a timely manner, filed reports with the State Comptroller that falsely and/or inaccurately stated the amounts collected, and engaged in impropriety with respect to traffic violations with which she was charged. In the Matter of Halstead, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 27, 2011)).
- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the 2008 decision of the Court of Judicial Discipline removing a judge for (1) being habitually and egregiously late for court and frequently absent from the courthouse; (2) being impatient, undignified, and discourteous to court staff and hindering and obstructing the administrative responsibilities of other judges and court officials; (3) repeatedly engaging in lengthy recitations of her displeasure with the president judge on the record; (4) causing a commotion outside of a courtroom and, in a letter to the president judge, falsely claiming that a deputy court administrator had caused the incident; (5) ignoring directives of the president judge to report her staff’s vacation and sick days, to provide copies of attendance reports for her employees, and to obtain approval for appointments of personnel; (6) consistently handling fewer cases and disposing of cases more slowly than other judges; (7) using a court employee to do personal work; and (8) instructing her law clerk to “cut [the plaintiff’s lawyer] a new asshole” in an opinion and, in a second case, to draft an opinion in favor of the plaintiffs because they had supported her politically and failing to disqualify from those cases. In re Lokuta, 11 A.3d 427 (Pennsylvania 2011).