Throwback Thursday

Twenty years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulated disposition and agreed statement of facts, the California Commission on Judicial Performance severely and publicly censured a judge for a wide variety of misconduct, including remanding 3 people to custody for whispering in court and 1 person for appearing to fall asleep in court without following proper contempt procedures; being rude and insulting to a deputy public defender on 6 occasions; putting inordinate pressure on prosecutors to offer dispositions and on defendants to enter guilty pleas; and frequently and arbitrarily dismissing misdemeanor cases if the prosecution was unable to proceed on the day set for trial without the 10-day grace period allowed by the penal code. Inquiry Concerning Ormsby, Decision and Order of Public Censure (California Commission on Judicial Performance March 20, 1996).
  • The Indiana Supreme Court removed a judge who had participated in harassment directed toward a court employee and her family. In the Matter of McCLain, 662 N.E.2d 935 (Indiana 1996).
  • The Michigan Supreme Court suspended for 3 days without pay a judge who, during a hearing on a motion in a custody proceeding, instigated a confrontational exchange, predetermined that the motion was frivolous, made caustic comments in an abusive tone, and personally attacked the attorney who filed the motion, stating at one point, for example, “Ma’am, I don’t know what planet you’re from.”  In the Matter of Hocking, 546 N.W.2d 234 (Michigan 1996).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a judge who, for over 6 years, failed to advise defendants in traffic cases of a trial date upon receipt of pleas of not guilty as required by statute and met ex parte with prosecutors to discuss plea reductions they had negotiated with defendants. In the Matter of Bregman, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 1996).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a part-time judge who had signed as complaining witness and filed with the other judge of his court 30 informations against individuals whom the judge had apprehended on the property of a private club for which he was superintendent and who had used judicial stationery in several letters to his fellow judge and to the district attorney in connection with the cases. In the Matter of Hoag, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 1996).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge who failed to remit court funds to the state comptroller by the tenth day of the month following collection as required by statute and failed to cooperate in the Commission investigation. In the Matter of Driscoll, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 1996).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of fact and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a judge who stepped off a park roadway into some bushes, raised his shorts, and exposed his penis; informed the arresting officers that he was a judge even though they had not asked about his occupation; and, at the police station, stated to a lieutenant that his arrest would be devastating because of his judicial position. The judge had pled guilty to disorderly conduct.  In the Matter of D’Amico, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 21, 1996).
  • Noting that a public reprimand was the most severe sanction it could impose when a judge no longer holds office, the South Carolina Supreme Court reprimanded a former judge who had had sexual intercourse with a litigant in a case before him. In the Matter of Gravely, 467 S.E.2d 924 (South Carolina 1996).

 

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