20 years ago this month:
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a retired judge for (1) conduct in a civil action after becoming angry with an insurance company and its attorney; (2) slamming a tablet down on the bench because an attorney had repeatedly violated an in limine ruling, excusing the jury, and yelling loudly at the attorney for several minutes; (3) telling an inappropriate and offensive joke while on the bench in a case involving sexual abuse of a child; (4) after several incidents raised the possibility of contempt charges and a hearing, obtaining the plaintiffs’ waivers of complaints to the Commission, their wavier of the filing of potential civil suits, and their agreement to indemnify him for costs incurred in Commission proceedings, and threatening retaliation if they made complaints or filed civil suits; and (4) using the judicial office to promote and sell a book he had written. Inquiry Concerning Ross, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 30, 1998). The Commission also barred him from receiving assignments, appointments, or references of work from any California state court.
- Adopting the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Judicial Standards, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former non-lawyer magistrate who, on the notarized application form he had filed with the governor’s office to become a magistrate, had falsely stated that he was a “high school graduate or its equivalence (G.E.D.).” In the Matter of White, 499 S.E.2d 813 (South Carolina 1998).