5 years ago this month:
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and proposed recommendation, the Mississippi Supreme Court reprimanded a judge for ordering that an attorney be incarcerated for criminal contempt after the attorney refused to recite the pledge of allegiance in open court. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Littlejohn, 62 So. 3d 968 (Mississippi 2011).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and proposed recommendation, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay and reprimanded her for conditioning defendants’ release on bail on church attendance; ex parte communications; sua sponte reducing bonds and charges; presiding at her nephew’s initial appearance on domestic violence charges; and expressing her view on the sheriff’s handling of the county drug problem and inviting ex parte communications on the subject. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Dearman, 66 So. 3d 112 (Mississippi 2011).
- The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, fined him $500, and reprimanded him for fixing 9 citations and intervening, or attempting to intervene, in 3 cases assigned to another judge. Commission on Judicial Performance v. McKenzie, 63 So.3d 1219 (Mississippi 2011).
- Based on the presentment of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge had accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court reprimanded a judge for, in a loud, hostile, angry, and antagonistic manner, making extreme and excessive remarks to a mother who questioned a visitation schedule. In the Matter of Baker, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court June 16, 2011) (judiciary.state.nj.us/pressrel/pr110616a.htm).
- With the judge’s agreement, the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission reprimanded a judge for escalating a personal disagreement with the public defender into an unauthorized, closed proceeding that did not comply with due process and embroiled court personnel and the sheriff’s department. Public Reprimand of Scarlett (North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission June 15, 2011) (aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/coa/jsc/publicreprimands/jsc10-209.pdf).
- Accepting stipulations of fact in lieu of trial, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former judge who had pled guilty to 2 federal felonies of corrupt receipt of reward for official action concerning programs receiving federal funds and filing a false individual tax return. In re Toole, Order and Opinion (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline June 24, 2011) (cjdpa.org/decisions/jd11-05.html).
- The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of the Judiciary suspending a judge for 90 days, without impairment of compensation, for a 9-month delay in deciding a case, failing to disqualify himself from a related case, and asking a party through an attorney to drop the judicial conduct complaint while the party had a case pending before him. In re Bell, 344 S.W.3d 304 (Tennessee 2011).
- Based on the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary reprimanded a judge for appearing before the county commission to gain approval for a “Citizens Heritage Display” for the courtroom lobby of the justice center and becoming involved in fund-raising for the display. In re Taylor, Agreed Order, Public Reprimand (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary June 6, 2011) (tsc.state.tn.us/boards-commissions/court-judiciary/disciplinary-actions/pleadings-public-cases/james-taylor).