Recent cases

  • The Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended the Chief Justice from office without pay for the remainder of his term for entering an administrative order that directed or appeared to direct all Alabama probate judges to follow Alabama’s marriage laws in disregard of a federal court injunction. In the Matter of Moore, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary September 30, 2016).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance admonished a judge for making discourteous and undignified comments to 4 prospective jurors during jury selection and improperly ordering 1 of them to wait in the hall after she had been excused. Inquiry Concerning Clarke, Public admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 29, 2016).
  • The Illinois Courts Commission censured a judge for making misrepresentations in her mortgage application that caused the lender to believe she occupied the property as her primary residence when, in fact, she resided at another property and had no intention of establishing residence at the property she was re-financing. In re Santiago (Illinois Courts Commission August 18, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 14 days without pay for keeping a witness incarcerated for contempt of court for over 2 months without appointing an attorney to represent her, setting bond, or holding a hearing. In re Miniard, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission September 2, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 7 days without pay for granting a father’s ex parte motion for immediate custody of a child. In re Stein, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission September 12, 2016).
  • The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission privately reprimanded a judge for allowing cases to remain active, in some cases for several years, without ruling on pending motions or issuing final orders. Order of private reprimand (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission September 7, 2016).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a judge for (1) making condescending and inappropriate remarks about a teenage sexual assault victim during a plea discussion while the jury was deliberating; (2) becoming angry with the county district attorney in a second case and making loud and derogatory statements to the district attorney; and (3) making disparaging and provocative comments in a third case regarding the familial relationship between the district attorney and a potential witness. In the Matter of Hafner, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 29, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s acknowledgement of the basis for the complaint and her successful compliance with a judicial diversion program, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline dismissed the Judicial Conduct Board’s complaint alleging the judge engaged “in unpleasant treatment both on and off the bench” of lawyers, litigants, her personal staff, and county employees and engaged in ex parte communications. In re Domitrovich, Order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline August 31, 2016).
  • Based on an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court reprimanded a magistrate for hearing matters involving the sheriff’s department after her husband became the sheriff. In the Matter of Underwood (South Carolina Supreme Court September 14, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s resignation and his agreement to be disqualified from judicial service in the state, the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct agreed not to pursue further disciplinary proceedings against the judge; the agreement notes that (1) the Commission had been investigating allegations that, in February, the judge exchanged sexually graphic messages, photos, and videos with a woman while attending a Commission meeting as vice chair and while attending an education conference in his official capacity; (2) during the investigation, the judge failed to timely produce requested records and evidence, deleted information from a social media account and from his cell phone before donating it to charity, failed to provide complete and candid testimony in response to Commission inquiries, and attempted to influence the testimony of a witness; and (3) in June, the judge was indicted on 3 counts of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act. Baker, Voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 22, 2016).

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