5 years ago this month:
- Pursuant to the judge’s consent, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for imposing unauthorized fees on criminal defendants who changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty. Letter of Admonishment to Blackman (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission March 21, 2014).
- The Indiana Supreme Court removed a judge for (1) failing to maintain court files and records in a manner that allowed access; (2) failing to complete paperwork necessary to effectuate court decisions, delaying many rulings, failing to rule promptly on motions to continue court settings, continuing bench trials if she believed the trials could not be completed by 4:00 p.m., and unnecessarily continuing several trials; (3) delaying the release of 10 defendants from jail for 1 to 22 days by failing to complete paperwork or to supervise court staff to ensure that paperwork was correctly filled out and errors were caught; (4) failing to cooperate with the court’s executive committee to address the issues that led to the delayed releases; (5) treating some attorneys, particularly public defenders, rudely and discourteously; (6) making derogatory and inappropriate remarks to court employees, treating court employees discourteously and with hostility, and favoring some court employees over others; and (7) retaliating when she thought court staff had complained to or cooperated with the Commission on Judicial Qualifications. In the Matter of Brown, 4 N.E.3d 619 (Indiana 2014).
- Based on the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) engaging in a sexual relationship with a complaining witness in a case pending before him without recusing himself from her case and numerous ex parte communications with her about the case; (2) ex parte communications with her about another case in which one of her relatives was a party; (3) permitting his mistress to enter the facility through an employee entrance without going through security, allowing her to remain alone in his chambers while he was on the bench, arranging for her to park in an area reserved for judges, and sneaking her cell phone into the courthouse for her; (4) when their relationship went sour, concocting stalking and extortion charges and seeking to use the prosecuting attorney’s office as leverage against her; and (5) lying under oath during the Commission proceedings. In re McCree, 845 N.W.2d 458 (Michigan 2014).
- Based on a settlement agreement and the Judicial Tenure Commission’s decision and recommendation, the Michigan Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for, based only on unsworn conversations with court staff, commencing indirect contempt proceedings against a litigant who had a confrontation with court staff and, after the commencement of proceedings, directing staff to provide information to the prosecuting attorney and to prepare affidavits without advising the litigant’s counsel of the communications. In re Wiley, 844 N.W.2d 1 (Michigan 2014).
- The North Dakota Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 1 month without pay for conduct toward his court reporter that could reasonably be perceived as sexual harassment. In the Matter of Corwin, 843 N.W.2d 830 (North Dakota 2014).