Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of the Judiciary to publicly censure a former judge and bar him from office for his treatment of litigants and practice of early in the docket sentencing to jail defendants who pleaded not guilty to discourage other defendants from seeking a trial. Steensland v. Judicial Inquiry Commission, 87 So. 3d 535 (Alabama 2012).
  • Based on a joint motion, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary prohibited a former judge from serving as a judge or exercising any judicial authority in any case in any court in Alabama; the judge had stipulated that the Commission could prove by clear and convincing evidence that she failed to recuse herself from a child custody dispute after the Commission served her with a complaint filed against her by the mother. In the Matter of Warner, Final Judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary January 27, 2012).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance removed a judge for diverting to his own court and acting on traffic tickets issued to his son-in-law, friends, and the pastor of his church, improperly waiving or suspending all or practically all fines and fees or granting a continuance. Inquiry Concerning Stanford, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance January 11, 2012).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for notarizing a document purporting to transfer property to his son and daughter-in-law without witnessing the donor execute the document and without the legal authority to notarize the document. In re Williams, 85 So. 3d 5 (Louisiana 2012).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on a stipulation, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for contacting another judge and an assistant district attorney for help getting an order of protection for his niece and giving incomplete and misleading responses in the Commission investigation. In re Burgess, 85 So. 3d 604 (Louisiana 2012).
  • Adopting the findings of fact and recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) dismissing cases and inappropriately disposing of cases without holding hearings and without notice to or the authorization of the prosecuting attorney, including fixing traffic citations issued to himself, his spouse, and his staff; (2) preventing the transmission of or altering court information that was legally required to be transmitted to the Secretary of State; (3) ex parte communications; (4) failing to follow plea agreements; (5) failing to promptly dispose of the business of the court; (6) interfering with a landlord/tenant case assigned to another judge; and (7) making false statements under oath during the Commission investigation. In re Justin, 809 N.W.2d 126 (Michigan 2012).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, publicly reprimanded him, and fined him $2,000 for interfering in cases not pending before him, ex parte communications, and dismissing citations for no proof of liability insurance when the proof the defendants supplied had been obtained after the citations. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Thompson, 80 So. 3d 86 (Mississippi 2012).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a non-lawyer judge for (1) accepting a plea from an unrepresented defendant whose ability to understand the proceedings was impaired by alcohol and (2) holding 4 defendants in summary contempt without complying with procedures required by law. In the Matter of Feeder, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 31, 2012).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for driving while intoxicated. In the Matter of Apple, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 31, 2012).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for unlawfully issuing orders of protection in a neighborhood dispute based on ex parte communications and even though there was no pending criminal action. In the Matter of Curtis, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 31, 2012).
  • Pursuant to an agreement for discipline by consent, the North Dakota Supreme Court censured a judge for a pattern of delay. Disciplinary Action against Hagar, 810 N.W.2d 338 (North Dakota 2012).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) threatening to handcuff and arrest a victim/witness; (2) sentencing a defendant for an uncharged offense without formally appointing counsel; and (3) revoking probation for 3 individuals without a hearing or appointing counsel. Letter to Moon (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary January 3, 2012).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded a judge for twice abusing the contempt power. Jackson, Letter of Reprimand (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary January 27, 2012).

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