10 years ago this month:
- Approving a recommendation based on a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, reprimanded him, and fined him $5,000 for (1) entering and sitting in the public defender’s office in the county courthouse in his robe during breaks in trials; (2) requiring a defendant to attend church as a condition of probation; (3) being late to hearings and trials; (4) putting a young mother in a holding cell for most of the day because she could not recall her address; (5) at a meeting with Department of Children and Families personnel, offering milk rather than coffee to 1 woman because, he said, she was so young; (6) in some dependency cases, asking the parent if they were using drugs and if the parent said “no,” ordering a drug test on the spot and holding the person in contempt and having them immediately jailed if the test came back positive; (7) going hunting with an attorney; (8) asking an attorney to get him an invitation to a Christmas party and attending the party; (9) telling the attorney to throw him a party when he was leaving the county; (10) calling an attorney up to the bench and stating, to the effect, “You heard they’re giving me a party. We need people to donate money and you need to give $100,” and mentioning money to her a second time; (11) accepting a $150 gift certificate from the party contributors; (12) telling 2 defense attorneys at lunch to draft an order requiring the Department of Children and Families to directly pay them because he did not like the case DCF had brought; (13) telling an attorney in chambers that there was an objection he thought the attorney should have made, stating “I intend for DCF to prove their case;” and (14) asking an attorney, “Ms. Simpson, are you taking us to lunch today?” Inquiry Concerning Albritton, 940 So. 2d 1083 (Florida 2006).
- Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court censured a judge who had pled guilty to driving while intoxicated. In the Matter of Williams, 905 A.2d 866 (New Jersey 2006).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and arguments as to sanction, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a judge who had (1) lost his composure and angrily left the bench to confront a defendant; (2) released a criminal defendant despite a law requiring that the defendant be remanded because of his prior felony record; and (3) in a flippant comment to a police officer, suggested the use of physical violence towards a defendant. In the Matter of Carter, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 25, 2006).
- The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct warned a judge for proceeding to trial in a criminal case in the absence of a prosecutor, finding the defendant guilty when no prima facie proof was presented by a prosecutor, failing to advise the defendant of her constitutional rights, and failing to reduce the judgment of conviction to writing. Public Warning of Santoya and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 29, 2006).