Recent cases

  • Based on a report by the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for failing to disqualify himself from a child support and guardianship case even though the judge knew that his wife had directly contacted the mother through social media postings and he acknowledged that he had a personal bias that required disqualification. In the Matter of Nadeau (Maine Supreme Judicial Court January 25, 2018).
  • The Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly reprimanded a judge for taking a guilty plea from a defendant the judge knew or reasonably should have known was probably too intoxicated to enter a competent, knowing, and voluntary guilty plea. In the Matter of Barrett, Public reprimand (Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications January 23, 2018).
  • The New Mexico Supreme Court ordered a former judge never to hold any judicial office in the state, accepting the judge’s resignation as his sanction and adopting the Judicial Standards Commission’s findings that the judge, for approximately 4 years and using state owned equipment, received and forwarded from his court e-mail address e-mails that were offensive, degrading, pornographic, racist, and sexist and used his court e-mail address to conduct personal business and communicate about political and religious activities. In the Matter of Castaneda, Order (New Mexico Supreme Court February 12, 2018).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s resignation and agreement not to seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct closed its investigation of a non-lawyer judge; the Commission had apprised the judge that it was investigating complaints that she had mishandled a town code proceeding by, inter alia, permitting unsworn testimony, failing to advise the defendant of the right to apply for assigned counsel, and making statements on the record that indicated she had prejudged the defendant as guilty before trial; mishandled matters involving unrepresented, minor defendants; required a defendant in a summary proceeding to present her defense before the presentation of the plaintiff’s case; engaged in ex parte conversations and/or elicited incriminating statements from parties; reduced and dismissed charges without notice to, or consent of, the prosecution; failed to advise defendants of the right to assigned counsel or to a preliminary hearing; and failed to have court proceedings audio-recorded in full as required. In the Matter of Castine, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 5, 2018).
  • Based on the judge’s resignation and 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 Commission had initiated an investigation after receiving a letter from the judge’s attorney describing events the attorney believed would be made public in an article in D Magazine, which, in April 2017, published an article entitled “Ardor in the Court” detailing the judge’s alleged affair with an attorney who was serving as counsel for a party in a high value probate matter over which he was presiding. Peyton, Voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 26, 2018).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to disqualify himself from the case of a former client and directing the Department of Public Safety not to test DNA evidence in the case; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete 4 hours of instruction with a mentor on recusal/disqualification and judicial independence. Public Reprimand of Muncy and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 10, 2018).

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