Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for delaying over 1 year in deciding a request for attorney’s fees and permanent alimony in a divorce case and failing to file quarterly reports on cases held under advisement for more than 90 days as required by administrative order. In the Matter of Davis, Final Decision and Order (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission April 23, 1997).
  • Based on stipulated facts and an agreement, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1) displaying a crucifix in the courtroom, (2) authorizing the use of his name and title in an advertisement celebrating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, (3) announcing a policy for sentencing persons convicted of DUI that allowed for no exceptions, and (4) making public statements disparaging other judges and local attorneys in open court, in documents filed in court, in newspapers, and on television broadcasts. Inquiry Concerning Velasquez, Decision and Order Imposing Public Censure (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 16, 1997).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court removed a judge who had ordered her clerk to back-date convictions in approximately 50 DUI cases to disguise the length of time that she had taken to dispose of the cases. Inquiry Concerning Johnson, 692 So. 2d 168 (Florida 1997).
  • The Illinois Courts Commission censured the chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court for, on 4 occasions, disobeying law enforcement officials who had stopped him for violations of traffic laws and volunteering the information that he was a member of the judiciary after being stopped by the officers. In re Heiple, Order (Illinois Courts Commission April 30, 1997).
  • Adopting the decision and recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for conducting activities relating to a community affairs radio and television program she produced and hosted during court hours in her chambers; appropriating the services of court personnel to perform tasks related to the program during court hours; using the court postage system to circulate correspondence and advertisements related to the program; using the court’s phone service, voicemail system, fax machine, photocopy machine, and other court materials for the program; soliciting and receiving funds from a car dealer to sponsor the program; and failing to report any of the funds received. In the Matter of Cooley, 563 N.W.2d 645 (Michigan 1997).
  • Pursuant to a joint motion for approval of the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for talking ex parte with a defendant, the defendant’s mother, the arresting officer, and the prosecutor and telling the mother’s boyfriend in front of the bail bondsman that he should not be trying to bail the defendant out of jail by posing as someone else, resulting in the defendant being unable to post bail. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Vess, 692 So. 2d 80 (Mississippi 1997).
  • The Missouri Supreme Court suspended a judge from office without pay for 30 days for reneging on his agreement to drop contempt charges against the police chief if he released an individual charged with domestic abuse as the judge had ordered, filing an incomplete and misleading contempt affidavit, and talking with a television reporter about the merits of the domestic violence case. In re Conard, 944 S.W.2d 191 (Missouri 1997).
  • Approving an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a judge who had made undignified, discourteous, and disparaging statements, including hyperbole about the British legal system, while sentencing a citizen of Great Britain who had pled guilty to manslaughter in connection with the death of her infant child. In re Hanophy, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 2, 1997)
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a part-time judge who had taken $242,745 in unauthorized fees from an estate for which he was an attorney and executor. In the Matter of Embser, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 2, 1997).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, based on a stipulation, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for making derogatory remarks regarding a litigant’s national origin in a case; ordering marriage as a condition of probation in 3 cases; and displaying a lack of judicial temperament in 4 domestic violence cases. Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Mestemaker, 676 N.E.2d 870 (Ohio 1997).
  • Pursuant to his consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge who had, while a judge, been arrested on charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. In the Matter of Brown, 484 S.E.2d 875 (South Carolina 1997).

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