5 years ago this month:
- Approving a stipulation and the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s findings and recommendation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined her $25,000 for (1) purchasing a table at a Republican Party fund-raiser; (2) failing to include the qualifier “for” required for non-incumbent candidates in some of her campaign materials; and (3) accepting funds for her campaign from her husband in excess of the $500 contribution limit imposed by law. Inquiry Concerning Krause, 141 So. 3d 1197 (Florida 2014).
- Adopting the findings of fact and conclusions of the law of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days without pay for (1) perfunctorily closing a courtroom to the public and the victim’s family without complying with a statute; (2) refusing to impose a mandatory sentence even after the statutory language was brought to his attention; (3) refusing to remand a defendant convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13 to jail to await sentencing as required by court rule; (4) disregarding an appellate court order directing him to hold a hearing; (5) recasting an order dismissing a case without prejudice to justify his sua sponte dismissal of the case despite the defendant’s intention to plead guilty; (6) subpoenaing a defendant’s medical records without the parties’ knowledge or consent; (7) personally bringing a defendant convicted of several violent crimes from lock-up and sentencing him without restraints or courtroom security present; and (8) coming down from the bench at the start of a trial to shake hands with a criminal defendant and deliver papers to his counsel. In re Morrow, 854 N.W.2d 89 (Michigan 2014).
- The Montana Supreme Court publicly censured a judge and suspended him for 31 days without pay for his comments while sentencing a teacher for sexual intercourse without consent with a 14-year-old student, imposing an unlawful sentence, attempting to retract his sentence, and making inappropriate public statements attempting to justify his actions. Inquiry Concerning Baugh, 334 P.3d 352 (Montana 2014).
- Upholding the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge for presiding over matters involving (1) a lawyer who was her close friend and personal attorney; (2) a lawyer who was or had been her campaign manager; and (3) a lawyer who was her former attorney. In the Matter of Doyle, 17 N.E.3d 1127 (New York 2014).
- Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, based on stipulated facts and the judge’s agreement, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge’s law license for 1 year, but stayed the suspension, for (1) during his transition from private practice to the bench, neglecting a client’s personal injury case and continuing to practice law after becoming a judge and (2) failing to timely withdraw his earned fees from his client trust account, commingling personal and client funds. Disciplinary Counsel v. Bender, 11 N.E.3d 1168 (Ohio 2014).
- Pursuant to the judge’s agreement with the Disciplinary Board, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspended a judge’s law license for 1 year based on her guilty plea to 3 misdemeanor charges of tampering with public records for dismissing 3 of her own parking tickets. Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Ballentine (Pennsylvania Supreme Court June 16, 2014).
- Pursuant to the judge’s agreement with an investigative panel, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to disqualify herself from a case in which an attorney who had been her campaign treasurer and her personal attorney appeared and her comments in several cases. Re Solomon, Letter of reprimand (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct May 16, 2014).