Recent cases

  • Accepting the findings and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Alaska Supreme Court ordered that a judge be immediately placed on medical disability retirement for a disability that seriously interferes with her performance of judicial duties and that is or may become permanent. In the Disability Matter Involving Greene, Order (Alaska Supreme Court January 11, 2019).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s retirement and agreement not to serve in the judiciary, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly reprimanded a former judge for improperly using court premises, equipment, or other resources for extra-judicial activities that did not concern the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice and improperly using court computer equipment after regular work hours at the office, as he admitted under oath during divorce litigation. Smith, Letter of reprimand and agreement not to serve in the judiciary (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission February 22, 2019).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a former judge and barred him from holding judicial office for (1) allowing a business to use his testimonial on its web-site without assuring that it did not use his judicial title; (2) ordering defendants in 5 cases to use an alcohol monitoring service without disclosing that his son worked for the company and that the owner was a friend and ordering a defendant to pay restitution to the company contrary to the law and based on a letter from his son; (3) appointing an attorney as a special master without disclosing that the attorney was a personal friend; (4) receiving improper gifts from Court Appointed Special Advocates, an attorney he had appointed as a master, and a law school; (5) failing to accurately report travel-related payments or reimbursements for attending judicial education programs; (6) commenting in the courthouse that gay men are “snappy” dressers;” (7) running for California Attorney General without taking a leave of absence and using his judicial title to raise funds for and promote his campaign; (8) failing to file a candidate intention statement until after his campaign had received contributions in violation of the Political Reform Act; and (9) permitting a campaign coordinator to use his judicial title on the Facebook page for his campaign for Attorney General and in posts on her law firm’s Facebook page promoting his candidacy. Inquiry Concerning Bailey, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 27, 2019).
  • Approving a second revised stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90-days without pay, fined her $5,000, and publicly reprimanded her for failing to take reasonable steps to stay apprised of her financial circumstances and failing to verify the accuracy of her 2016 and 2017 financial disclosures, which did not report that the accommodations and other benefits she received on 3 trips with her husband were provided by the hotel for free. Ortiz (Florida Supreme Court January 29, 2019).
  • Accepting a conditional agreement and petition to dismiss as moot following the judge’s resignation and the closing of his court, the Indiana Supreme Court dismissed the statement of charges filed by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications alleging that a non-lawyer judge, without the authorization of the county prosecutor’s office and contrary to the prosecutor’s directions, permitted state infraction cases to be filed in the city court and allowed individuals to be placed in the infraction deferral program, used the prosecutor’s signature stamp to approve deferral agreements, permitted juveniles to participate in a deferral program contrary to statute, and dismissed with prejudice state infractions in which the court had accepted partial payments with no adjudication. In the Matter of Robison, 116 N.E.3d 452 (Indiana 2019).
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 7 days without pay for leaving the scene of a vehicular accident. In re Roberts, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission January 17, 2019).
  • Based on the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline ordered a judge to resign and to be barred from serving in judicial office based on his lack of knowledge and ability to handle the legal and administrative duties of his family court docket. In the Matter of Humke, Stipulation and order of consent to discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline January 11, 2019).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended a judge for 2 months for surreptitiously recording 3 meetings with other judges and denying that she recorded 1 of the meetings. In the Matter of Gross-Quatrone, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court January 24, 2019).  The Court does not describe the judge’s conduct; this summary is based on the Committee’s presentment.
  • Granting a petition to accept a stipulation, the New Mexico Supreme Court ordered the permanent resignation of a judge based on her arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs and the resulting criminal proceedings. Inquiry Concerning Walker, Order (New Mexico Supreme Court January 31, 2019).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for invoking his judicial position when asking the police for assistance in unlocking his personal vehicle and threatening to refuse to do arraignments if they refused his request. In the Matter of Abbott, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 7, 2019).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of fact and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for holding a preliminary hearing without the defendant’s attorney after his request to adjourn because he was required to appear at a sentencing proceeding in federal court at the same time and committing errors during the hearing that gave the appearance she was biased against the defendant. In the Matter of Wachtman, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 7, 2019).  The judge is not an attorney.
  • Accepting the Board of Professional Conduct’s findings of fact and misconduct, based on stipulations and an agreement, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 1 year for (1) reducing bail in a case from $350,000 to $85,000 following ex parte texts from the defendant’s attorney forwarded to her by her bailiff and (2) changing her verdict in a bench trial from guilty to not guilty out of frustration with the prosecutor for refusing to dismiss an unrelated charge against the same defendant; the Court stayed the suspension conditioned on the judge not engaging in further misconduct, paying the costs of the proceeding, and completing 6 hours of CLE. Disciplinary Counsel v. Salerno (Ohio Supreme Court February 12, 2019).
  • Accepting a consent-to-discipline agreement, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former judge from the practice of law for 6 months for his actions after his 17-year-old daughter was pulled over for speeding, including trying to talk to the prosecutor about her case during a hearing in an unrelated case, complaining that the state trooper who pulled her over had not shown him professional courtesy, saying in unrelated cases that he did not trust troopers like he used to, testifying as a radar expert in his daughter’s case, and complaining that the magistrate who presided in his daughter’s case had questioned his credibility. Disciplinary Counsel v. Marshall (Ohio Supreme Court February 28, 2019).
  • Based on an agreement, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for delay in entering a final ruling in a domestic relations case, failing to promptly enter a ruling following a remand from the state supreme court, and failing to respond to notices from the Board. Weiss (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct January 11, 2019).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former judge for engaging in a sexual relationship with an employee and giving her preferential treatment in raises and promotions. Public Reprimand of Riley (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 20, 2019).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for telling a jury that the defendant was not guilty and exhibiting prejudice against the prosecution and bias in favor of the defense during the trial. Public Warning of Robison (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 20, 2019).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for appointing as foreperson of a county grand jury a detective whose agency investigates cases in the county. Public Warning of Strother (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 20, 2019).

 

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