Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for indicating that a defendant could be released to a behavioral health treatment provider after conducting an ex parte hearing in which the defendant’s father argued for the release. Hudson, Amended order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct August 22, 2017).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance severely censured a judge for (1) during his 2012 campaign, making misrepresentations on his campaign web-site and candidate disclosure form, failing to resign from 3 political action committees, publicly opposing President Barack Obama’s re-election, omitting expenses from his campaign disclosure form, and using a personal bank account and credit card for campaign expenses; (2) after being sworn in as a judge, remaining as counsel of record in a federal action for approximately 6 weeks and issuing 4 checks from his law office account; (3) improper courtroom decorum, poor demeanor, bias, and/or a lack of impartiality in the courtroom, including drawing attention to an attorney’s ethnicity and accent and questioning her citizenship, using nicknames to address attorneys, commenting on the physical appearance of attorneys, disclosing intimate personal facts, using crude language, and speaking Spanish; (4) improperly responding to a “blanket” challenge from the city attorney’s office by telling deputy public defenders and public defender interns to “watch out;” (5) telling an African-American court employee who had participated in a Halloween costume contest that she should not say she “didn’t win due to racism” or words to that effect; (6) stating during a proceeding, “I had a Filipino teacher who always used to ask for a shit of paper;” (7) improperly soliciting the legal opinion of attorneys in cases in which they did not represent a party; (8) giving a small claims plaintiff the choice of dismissing his case and filing it as a civil case or having the judge decide based on evidence that the judge said was insufficient; and (9) repeatedly interjecting his personal experience during a small claims case. Inquiry Concerning Kreep, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 7, 2017).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 120 days without pay, fined him $3,000, and publicly reprimanded him for ordering a man to serve 6 months in a work center for a conviction he had already appealed to a higher court and for which he had already had satisfied his sentence. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Sheffield (Mississippi Supreme Court August 17, 2017).
  • The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended a non-lawyer judge without pay for 1 year for (1) sealing her then son-in-law’s criminal records relating to his arrest for domestic battery of her daughter; (2) improperly ordering staff to conduct an illegal criminal records search of her friend’s boyfriend; (3) sentencing an unrepresented individual to 8 months in jail in violation of due process; (4) referring to men as “sperm donors;” (5) improperly running a juvenile diversion program; and (6) issuing orders regarding titles for abandoned vehicles in small claims cases. In the Matter of Haviland, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 29, 2017).
  • With the judge’s consent and conditioned on his agreement that the letter be public, the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board issued a letter of counsel to a judge for being involved in a “support relationship” with the district attorney during his second divorce without disclosing the relationship when she and attorneys from her office appeared in his court. Letter to Grine (Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board August 20, 2017).
  • Denying in part and granting in part the judge’s petition for review of a decision of the 6th Circuit Judicial Council, the Judicial Conduct and Disability Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference publicly reprimanded a judge for ordering a magistrate to show cause why he had not met the deadline for filing a report and recommendation in a social security case and for refusing to cooperate with the special investigating committee’s request that he undergo a mental health examination. In re Adams, Memorandum of Decision (U.S. Judicial Conference Judicial Conduct and Disability Committee of August 14, 2017).

 

 

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