Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Granting a joint motion to resolve charges after an alternate dispute resolution hearing, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded and censured a judge for making public comments about pending contempt proceedings against a lawyer on his Facebook page and in an e-mail to all state court judges. In the Matter of Allred, Reprimand and censure (Alabama Court of the Judiciary March 22, 2013).
  • Approving the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for 4 incidents of intemperate courtroom behavior in criminal cases; the Court also ordered him to send letters of apology and to continue mental health treatment recommended by his doctor and family therapist. Inquiry Concerning Shea, 110 So. 3d 414 (Florida 2013).
  • Based on his consent, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission suspended a judge for 60 days without pay, reprimanded him, ordered that he be on probation until the end of his term, and ordered that he not run for re-election following the conclusion of his term; the judge admitted that (1) without any legal authority, he had ordered the collection of funds from criminal defendants “in what appeared to be an effort to ‘maximize’ the collection of revenue” for the county that the county was not entitled to receive; (2) failed to include surcharges required by law in fines imposed on criminal defendants; (3) appointed his son to serve as judge in his absence; (4) chatted on Facebook with a woman who contacted him, advised her how her brother could get a DUI matter pending in another court transferred to his court, and failed to recuse from the case; (5) segregated Hispanic defendants from the public courtroom to speak with them about their pending cases without a court reporter or the prosecutor present; (6) while on the bench, asked members of the audience to vote for him and engaged in other political activities; (7) questioned court officials regarding their support of his political opponent; (8) was hostile to an attorney who had contributed to his election opponent; (9) during his campaign, made numerous threatening statements to the owners and employees of the private probation services company under contract with the court because they would not publicly support his candidacy; (10) confronted members of the state patrol about objections they had to some of his rulings; and (11) held a “trial” in absentia over the objection of the defendant’s counsel. In re Bass, Public reprimand (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission March 18, 2013).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for approximately 30 remarks he made to the jury in a criminal case. In the Matter of Spicer, Public reprimand (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards March 26, 2013).
  • Concurring with the findings and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay and publicly reprimanded him for dismissing criminal charges in 38 cases in exchange for payments to a “drug fund” established by the police chief. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Smith, 109 So. 3d 95 (Mississippi 2013).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge who issued a warrant and judgment in an eviction proceeding that did not comply with statutory requirements, a month after being cautioned for issuing a judgment that was inconsistent with the same statute. In the Matter of Temperato, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 2013).
  • Based on the judge’s acceptance, the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for becoming embroiled in a public feud with the police chief, the assistant town manager, and the district attorney and engaging in actions that fell outside the legitimate exercise of the powers of his office. Public Reprimand of Tillett (North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission March 8, 2013).
  • After a trial de novo, a Special Court of Review Appointed by the Texas Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a court of appeals judge for contacting 3 individuals associated with the county juvenile detention center, a district judge, and a county commissioner in an effort to secure the release of an acquaintance’s daughter from the juvenile center after she was detained for shoplifting. In re Sharp, 480 S.W.3d 829 (Texas Special Court of Review 2013).
  • Based on stipulated facts and a stipulation for reprimand, the Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission’s public reprimand of a judge for ex parte communications with the parties in a small claims case after trial but before making his decision. Inquiry Concerning Johnson, Order (Utah Supreme Court March 26, 2013).
  • Adopting the sanction recommended by the Judicial Hearing Board, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals suspended a judge without pay until the end of his term (December 2016) and publicly censured him for (1) demonstrating contempt for the authority of the Court, the circuit court, the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts, and the Judicial Investigation Commission; (2) being unable to properly manage his office and staff; and (3) a lack of courtesy, civility, decorum, and judicial comportment in hearings and correspondence. In the Matter of Watkins, 757 S.E.2d 594 (West Virginia 2013).

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