Recent cases

  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s resignation following a formal complaint and his agreement not to seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a former judge, who waived confidentiality to the limited extent that the stipulation can become public; the complaint alleged that the judge had posted on his Facebook account “a picture of a noose with the annotation, ‘IF WE WANT TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN WE WILL HAVE TO MAKE EVIL PEOPLE FEAR PUNISHMENT AGAIN,’” and the stipulation stated that the judge had “shared an image and statement on his Facebook account that was visible to the public and conveyed and/or appeared to convey racial and/or political bias, and thereby failed to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”  In the Matter of Canning, Decision and Order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 12, 2019).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement for stated disposition, the North Carolina Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for, in a hearing to determine whether a mother should be held in contempt after her 15-year-old twin sons refused to visit with their father, directing the bailiff to handcuff the mother and escort her out of the courtroom without an opportunity to be heard and without any contemptuous behavior in the courtroom and berating and threatening the children.  In re Foster, Order (North Carolina Supreme Court September 27, 2019).
  • Based on stipulated facts and conclusions of law, the Vermont Judicial Conduct Board publicly reprimanded a former judge for failing in a probate case to complete all hearings as noticed, to follow-up and enforce orders, or to hold the guardian accountable and failing to hear and decide motions for months or longer without justification.  In re Lewis, Public reprimand (Vermont Judicial Conduct Board September 6, 2019).
  • Adopting the conclusions of a special committee, the 10th Circuit Judicial Council publicly reprimanded and admonished a U.S. District Judge for the District of Kansas for (1) giving preferential treatment and unwanted attention to female court employees in the form of sexually suggestive comments, inappropriate text messages, and excessive, non-work-related contact, often after work hours and late at night; (2) engaging in a years-long extramarital sexual relationship with a drug-using individual who was then on probation for state-court felony convictions and is now incarcerated for probation violations; and (3) being habitually late for court proceedings and meetings for years.  In re:  Complaint under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act (Murguia), Order (10th Circuit Judicial Council September 30, 2019).

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