10 years ago this month:
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance removed a judge who (1) in 8 cases, without complying with minimal due process requirements, found unrepresented defendants who requested a modification of probation had violated their probation and imposed time in custody; (2) in 6 cases, improperly increased or threatened to increase the defendant’s sentence for asking questions regarding the sentence or offering a defense; (3) in 5 cases, asked defendants convicted of speeding violations if it felt good to “peel out” and conditioned their sentences on their responses, having predetermined that there was only one truthful answer based on his personal experience; (4) in 7 cases, informed unrepresented defendants at arraignment that their only choices were to plead guilty or accept diversion without advising them of their constitutional right to plead not guilty and have a trial; (5) issued bench warrants for absent defendants because their attorneys were not present when the case was called and refused to recall the warrant when the attorney later appeared and explained his or her absence; and (6) made inappropriate comments in 14 instances that disparaged counsel or suggested, as a “joke,” that a person appearing before him was about to be remanded to custody. Inquiry Concerning Velasquez, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 25, 2007).
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge who (1) abused his authority in issuing orders to show cause regarding sanctions and (2) treated an attorney in a sarcastic and belittling manner. In the Matter Concerning Sohigan, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 26, 2007).
- The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge, and imposed a $3,500 civil penalty, for privately handling 2 cases for an acquaintance. Public Reprimand of Thuet (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards April 20, 2007).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge who failed to make payments he owed under a confession of judgment and settlement of a claim related to his former law practice and, in the litigation the creditor was forced to commence, filed a verified answer that contained defenses he acknowledges were invalid. In the Matter of Honorof, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 18, 2007).
- Approving the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability, the Oregon Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for repeatedly admonishing and belittling defense counsel in a criminal trial and terminating defense counsel’s opening statement and some of his cross examination. Inquiry Concerning Ochoa, 157 P.3d 183 (Oregon 2007).
- The Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission’s public reprimand of a judge for failing to treat a defendant’s brother with dignity, courtesy, and respect. In re Lewis, Order (Utah Supreme Court April 26, 2007).