20 years ago this month:
- The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for holding in criminal contempt of court a woman who had posted on his office door a letter that said his daughter was responsible for the woman’s husband being convicted of sexually abusing 2 girls. Letter to Lewis (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission July 20, 1998).
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for ex parte e-mails with an attorney about a pending case. Public Admonishment of Caskey (California Commission on Judicial Performance July 6, 1998).
- Accepting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days without pay for having an extra-marital affair with a felon who was on parole from a prison sentence she had imposed. In re Harris, 713 So. 2d 1138 (Louisiana 1998).
- Agreeing with the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court suspended a judge for 3 months without pay and publicly reprimanded him for (1) routinely failing to properly advise defendants during plea colloquies even though he knew the legal requirements and (2) an ex parte communication to another judge that caused the other judge to dismiss an abuse prevention order she had issued. In the Matter of Markey, 696 N.E.2d 523 (Massachusetts 1998).
- Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court removed a judge from office for making public misrepresentations at a press conference, attempting to introduce a fraudulent letter into evidence in a Commission hearing, and, throughout the proceedings, engaging in conduct that was inappropriate, unprofessional, and demonstrated a lack of respect for the proceedings. In re Ferrara, 582 N.W.2d 817 (Michigan 1998).
- Following the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a non-lawyer judge for 90 days without pay and fined him $1,500 for assaulting a defendant in the courtroom and directing profane language at the defendant during the altercation. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Guest, 717 So. 2d 325 (Mississippi 1998).
- Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Nebraska Supreme Court removed a judge from office for consistently using intemperate, threatening language over a long period; sending a death threat to another judge and igniting firecrackers in that judge’s office; using false signatures and odd bond amounts on court documents; and consistently having close contacts with people placed on probation. In re Jones, 581 N.W.2d 876 (Nebraska 1998).
- The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for conveying the impression of bias in favor of the prosecution and against defendants, failing to effectuate the rights of defendants at arraignment, having ex parte communications with prosecutors, and displaying intemperate demeanor. In the Matter of McKevitt, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 27, 1998).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for entering a judgement in a case without holding a trial, administering an oath to the witnesses, or receiving evidence that would support his judgment and even though he knew that the defendant had no legal obligation to pay the amount claimed and that the decision was contrary to law. In the Matter of Degenhardt, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 27, 1998).