What they said that got them in trouble in the first half of 2016

  • “Well, when you trust a woman that’s what you get.” Judge to defendant who blamed his failure to make a payment on his ex-fiancé to whom he had allegedly entrusted the money.  In the Matter of Scattergood, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court March 8, 2016) (reprimand and bar of former judge for this and other misconduct).
  • Fees and costs “did not seem fair and . . . may be a scheme for the State to make money.” Judge to defendant who challenged his obligation to pay after pleading guilty, although the judge added that the defendant was receiving a benefit by avoiding an assessment of points on his license.  In the Matter of Scattergood, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court March 8, 2016) (reprimand and bar of former judge for this and other misconduct).
  • “You say one more word to me, you’re out of here, one more word. Go ahead and say it.  Tempt me.”  Judge to defendant who became argumentative after the court officer confiscated his cell phone and the judge required that he pay $50 for its return.  In the Matter of Scattergood, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court March 8, 2016) (reprimand and bar of former judge for this and other misconduct).
  • “Sneaky snake.”  Judge about party and his attorney during hearing on a notice of transfer, which the judge acknowledged was proper.  Re Davenport (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct May 18, 2016) (reprimand for this and related misconduct).
  • “Your husband must be rolling over in his grave right now;” and, “You need more than psychological help. I wish I could do more to you.  You don’t seem like you would do very well in jail.  I just arrested someone earlier today for violating a peace bond;” and, “What do you own?  Where do you work?  How do you pay your bills?  Who’s going to take care of you?”  Judge to recent widow in peace bond proceeding brought by her stepchildren accusing her of inappropriate conduct.  In re Laiche, Opinion (Louisiana Supreme Court March 15, 2016) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “I don’t know what the hell you two are thinking, but get it together. All of you.” and “I don’t give a crap about any of you.”  Judge to parents in a custody hearing.  Hancock, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 12, 2016) (reprimand).
  • “I fell [sic] sorry for everybody from here on now.” Judge just after holding a self-represented defendant in contempt for what she said and her “attitude” and before holding a second self-represented defendant in contempt for his “insolent behavior.”  In re Free (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016) (1-year suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “What, your skin was ashy? You were ashy trying to get your skin right with some Aveeno?”  Judge to defendant who stole Aveeno lotion from a Wal-Mart; the judge’s statement caused audible laughter in the courtroom.  In re Free (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016) (1-year suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “Now see how I knew that, you are a pretty good sized girl. You are like me, you are pretty good sized.  I figured out the baby clothes.  That seems to be like a common thing, people just go to Wal-Mart and steal baby clothes.  Man, go to Baby Gap or something if you are going to take a chance, get on the big ones.  Go for something worth something, man.”  Judge to 2 women who pled guilty to shoplifting from a Wal-Mart; the judge’s statement provoked laughter in the courtroom.  In re Free (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016)) (1-year suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “For your consideration, there’s a blood drive outside and if you do not have any money and you don’t want to go to jail, as an option to pay it, you can give blood today.” Judge while presiding over a docket to recover court-ordered costs, fees, fines, and restitution.  In the Matter of Wiggins, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary January 21, 2016) (censure).
  • “So, if you choke them, that’s a felony.  If you punch them in the eye, that’s a misdemeanor. . . . If you punch them in the eye and then choke them, they’ll never know you choked them. . . . That’s some crazy stuff, man.  It’s like they want to legislate for every little thing….  Oh, you touched the right finger?  That’s a different thing there now.  Oh you grabbed her by the left arm, that’s a different crime.    And, I say that, but women beat upon the men too.  I see that a lot now days.”  Judge in exchange with assistant district attorney during proceedings in a domestic violence case.  In re Free (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016) (1-year suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “My observation is that I just don’t know anybody that — nicer than you and your wife. Your kids come to church.  If I don’t let you — if I don’t modify [your probation] at least to some extent, that I would consider my job to be, in this regards, a farce.  There’s nobody else — if I don’t modify it under these circumstances, then I would never modify it for anybody, and although there’s a lot of sensitivity in these types of cases, it’s clear that the — the young lady’s — she is indifferent about it.  Her father is indifferent about it.  The Chief of Police, who had nothing bad to say about you; ….  So, I’ll say no more, and I applaud you for becoming a better person and I hereby, because of your conduct, I’m going to — considering the modification, I’m going to go a step further.  I hereby terminate you, Anthony, Garcia, from all conditions of probation.  You have met all of ’em.  You are an asset to the community, to the church, to your family, and your friends.”  Judge terminating early the probation of a man with whom he was acquainted through their attendance at the same church and participation in the choir.  In re Best (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016) (15-day suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “This conversation never happened.”  Judge to deputy district attorney after an ex parte communication about a case that was pending sentencing before him.  In the Matter of Scott, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 17, 2016).
  • “Why do defense lawyers not want to try cases in front of me cuz they know I’ll put people in jail.”  Judge interrupting a private meeting between the family members of the victims in a murder case and members of the district attorney’s office after a hearing in the case.  In re Free (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016).
  • “If I had cash [or money], I’d give you a tip.”  Judge to female assistant district attorney when she brought him coffee after he handed her his empty coffee mug.  Public Admonishment of Bergeron (California Commission on Judicial Performance January 25, 2016) (admonishment for this and other misconduct).
  • “I’m sure you are just as busy with your physical therapy, workout time and all. I don’t appreciate you checking on me — I don’t work for you and never will.  I was elected by the citizens of this county, unlike you.  I would hope you and your pals upstairs would have better things to do with your time as Superior Court Judges than keep a journal on another Judge’s comings and goings.  Pathetic . . . get a life.  I look forward to running against you for [presiding judge].  The Court will be a lot better off without you in some position of assumed power.  Good luck in the campaign.  Have a really nice night.”  Judge in e-mail to assistant presiding judge after she asked where he had been and about his availability to help cover the court’s calendar.  Inquiry Concerning Trice (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 4, 2016) (censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “[I like how she] shoves [or rams] it up [the law guardian’s ass].”  Judge about deputy attorney general during a break in court proceedings in a Department of Children and Families case.  In the Matter of Portelli, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 18, 2016) (reprimand for this and other misconduct).
  • “You look nice today.” Judge in note on legal pad he showed to family specialist while she was testifying.  In the Matter of Portelli, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 18, 2016) (reprimand for this and other misconduct).
  • “I’m an African American. African American talk about all kind of crazy things at all times.  So you don’t know when they mean anything.  You don’t even know what — if they talk to you about certain thing this minute, the next minute they talk to you about something else.”  Judge in discipline proceedings for rendering a judgment in a collections case without giving the African American defendants a meaningful opportunity to be heard.  In re Gremillion (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016) (removal).
  • “I have a public official job that this will kill me. It will become very bad.  I can’t tell you because if I tell you, I can get in trouble for that.  But I won’t.  I was on the phone with my wife, that’s why I was swerving.  This will kill me more than the average guy.”  Judge to trooper who stopped him for drunk driving; judge subsequently said “beyond the point of discretion, I’m a judge.”  In the Matter of Baptista, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 19, 2016) (censure for this and related misconduct).
  • “Yesterday at lunch.” Judge’s false statement about when he last had something to drink when trooper stopped him for drunk driving.  In the Matter of Baptista, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 19, 2016) (censure for this and related misconduct).
  • “Well, actually, it is.” Judge to the judge presiding over her personal case when she called and he said, “Well, it can’t be, it’s not about this, your case, is it?”  In the Matter of Dixon, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 26, 2016) (censure).
  • “If I see you again, I’m going to make sure that the county sheriff takes you to jail.” Judge to driver he had had the police pull over after she passed him.  Public Warning of Brady and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 3, 2016).
  • “I enjoy performing marriage ceremonies” and “make every effort to schedule them” when possible. Part-time magistrate’s web-site for his law practice.  In the Matter of Martinek, Opinion (June 17, 2016) (finding of misconduct, no sanction).
  • “Being on the road — I just got this exchange — you guys sound like a bunch of women, worrying about offending and being misunderstood and falling all over each other thanking everyone and getting misty eyed! Jeezus, boys, is it a menstrual [sic] thing?  The next thing we’ll be splitting the check at Finn McCool[‘]s ‘now you had the BLT and an iced tea, so you owe….’ Snap the hell out of it!!!  Everybody’s great, everybody’s in Bax, get the money up front and all of the rest of us will go.  New Judge [B.] will find [out] a judge has to go out of state to see boobs.  New Dad [S.] will go unless he knocks Momma up again.  [S] can spend an extra hour in the OR and pay for all of us!!  I’m in.  I’ve got a stake of fifty ones and a titty-deficit that needs cured.”  Justice in e-mail to his golfing group.  In re Eakin, Opinion (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline March 24, 2016) ($50,000 fine).
  • “Cast your vote in the Senate District 16 Special Election. I will be voting for Angela Turner Lairy! . . .  Let’s not lose this seat!”  Judge on social media.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Clinkscales (Mississippi Supreme Court June 9, 2016) (removal for this and other misconduct).

 

One thought on “What they said that got them in trouble in the first half of 2016

  1. Pingback: What they said that got them in trouble in the second half of 2016 | Judicial ethics and discipline

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