Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Conduct Commission, the Arizona Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90 days without pay for (1) acting as an intermediary between an acquaintance and the owner of a Nevada casino about the establishment of gambling operations in Mexico; (2) discussing a proposed enterprise to recover stolen property from Mexico for insurance proceeds; (3) inducing a pro tem justice of the peace to sign an injunction in a case from which he had recused himself; (4) involving himself in the police investigation of a domestic complaint brought against a court clerk by her husband; (5) permitting ex parte contacts by criminal defense lawyers, including discussions about the terms of release for their clients; (6) allowing others to gain the impression that a local attorney, who had represented the judge in a divorce proceeding and from whose mother-in-law the judge had borrowed money, enjoyed a favored position with the judge and in his court; (7) failing to report his wife’s employment with a Nevada casino on his financial disclosure statement; (8) occasionally ignoring established court procedures and dismissing or otherwise disposing of traffic tickets for acquaintances; (9) allowing his staff to receive gifts from persons and organizations doing business with the court; (10) requesting that the police issue a traffic citation to a truck driver who passed him in a no passing zone and then presiding over the matter; (11) failing to disclose to litigants and counsel that certain attorneys appearing in his court had represented him personally in the past; (12) carrying a concealed weapon without a license; (13) attempting to obtain information from his staff about the Commission’s investigation, then denying having done so in a deposition; and (14) signing, without authority, a letter purporting to appoint an acquaintance as a justice court police officer. In the Matter of Gumaer, 867 P.2d 850 (Arizona 1994).
  • Accepting the findings and recommendations of the Judicial Qualifications Commission based on a stipulation and the judge’s agreement, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge who had failed to vacate an order that both parties agreed was mistakenly entered. Inquiry Concerning Vitale, 630 So. 2d 1065 (Florida 1994).
  • Adopting the conclusions of law of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications based on agreed facts, the Kansas Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for (1) as a district court judge, presiding over contested cases in which the Garden City was a party while also serving as municipal judge of Garden City; (2) signing an offer to purchase a condominium from an estate 18 days after signing orders admitting the will to probate; (3) purchasing a home that was the subject of a foreclosure action while the lawsuit was still pending before him; and (4) apparently breaching a contract to buy a piece of property and then failing to notify the realtors, the lenders, or the buyers of his own property that he had been sued and served with process for that breach. In the Matter of Handy, 867 P.2d 341 (Kansas 1994).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended 4 municipal judges for as long as they also served as mayor of their municipalities. In re Grant, Herring, Beamon, and Ward, 631 So. 2d 758 (Mississippi 1994).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for, (1) committing 5 defendants charged with misdemeanors, violations, or traffic infractions to jail without setting bail, in violation of a state statute; (2) stating to a defendant charged with several traffic violations, “You’re going to jail; no bail,” and failing to advise the defendant of the charges against him and of his rights concerning counsel, resulting in the defendant remaining in jail for 21 days, even though the maximum period that he could properly be held awaiting trial was 5 days; (3) after his home was vandalized on Halloween, asking a defendant charged with throwing an egg at the mayor’s truck on Halloween whether he would tell what had happened to his home and increasing the defendant’s bail in subsequent cases without making any inquiry until the defendant eventually spent 64 days in jail in lieu of bail, even though the law mandated release after 30 days; and (4) accusing a defendant of directing foul remarks at him at a previous appearance, demanding an apology, and saying that, if he had not been wearing his robes, he would have thrown the defendant’s a** through a wall, which compelled the defendant to accept a plea bargain. In the Matter of Yusko, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 27, 1994).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) suggesting in a political advertisement that his opponent would be biased as a judge and was not respected in his profession and comparing him to comic characters and (2) publicly supporting the re-election of the county executive and publicly criticizing the county executive’s opponent. In the Matter of Decker, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 27, 1994).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge for (1) failing to deposit court funds into his official account within 72 hours of receipt as required by statute, (2) failing to remit court funds to the state comptroller by the tenth day of the month following collection as required by statute, (3) failing to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the disposition of 272 traffic tickets as required by statute, (4) with respect to 170 traffic tickets, failing to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the defendants’ failure to appear in court or otherwise answer the charges or to pay fines imposed by the court, (5) failing to respond to letters from Commission counsel, and (6) failing to appear to give testimony before the Commission even though he was notified by letter that his appearance was required by law. In the Matter of Tiffany, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 26, 1994).

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