Recent cases

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for failing to disclose his personal relationship with an attorney every time the attorney appeared before him.  Public Admonishment of Mason (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 3, 2019).
  • Approving a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for (1) speaking sharply to a female attorney who was new to the felony trial department and hitting her hand at the bench with enough force to leave a visible impression and (2) using crude and inappropriate language when talking with a court administrator about a case involving sexual misconduct by a judge in another state.  Inquiry Concerning Jacobson, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 19, 2019).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Discipline based on a stipulation, the Colorado Supreme Court suspended a judge for 28 days without pay and publicly censured him for driving under the influence and crashing his vehicle into trees and bushes while avoiding a collision with another vehicle.  In the Matter of Timbreza (Colorado Supreme Court December 2, 2019).
  • Based on an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) his handling of a small claims case and (2) holding a hearing in 2 criminal cases even though a petition for his disqualification was pending.  In re Wright, Public reprimand (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission December 23, 2019).
  • Following a hearing, the Nevada Commission Judicial Discipline publicly admonished a hearing master for ignoring an attorney’s objections to her questioning of a juvenile defendant, yelling at the attorney, telling the juvenile that her probation would be increased if she refused to answer her questions, preventing the attorney from making a record on his objection, and threatening to contact the attorney’s boss; the hearing master was also ordered to complete a course at the National Judicial College.  In the Matter of Henry, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission Judicial Discipline December 12, 2019).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s resignation and 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 non-lawyer judge who waived confidentiality to the limited extent that the stipulation can become public; the Commission had been investigating several complaints alleging that the judge had (1) failed to enforce a town ordinance regulating storage of “junk” on residential properties; (2) failed to properly inform a defendant during an arraignment of his due process rights; and (3) sent a letter to the editor of a local paper in which he made political and partisan statements, criticized public officials and town residents concerning a local controversy; and criticized the governor’s executive decisions and policies and described the governor as “corrupt” at a time when he was running for re-election.  In the Matter of Chamberlain, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 5, 2019).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) using profanity and invoking his judicial office in an attempt to have smoking and/or drug-related paraphernalia removed from a store’s window display and (2) making an insensitive remark about a co-defendant’s ethnicity while acting as a private attorney in a civil case and asserting his judicial office when confronted about his remark.  In the Matter of Tawil, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 12, 2019).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for appearing and acting as his daughter’s attorney in a family court matter on 3 occasions and invoking his judicial title in several instances during 2 court appearances.  In the Matter of Edwards, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 20, 2019).
  • The Oklahoma Supreme Court (1) publicly reprimanded a judge for, while a candidate, violating rules concerning election expenditures and reports and (2) publicly admonished her for neglecting to pay over 60 parking tickets and county, state, and federal tax obligations for several years; the Court also placed her on probation, including completing at least 5 mentoring sessions with an experienced judge.  In the Matter of Coleman (Oklahoma Supreme Court December 3, 2019).
  • The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board issued a letter of counsel to a judge for telling a police officer at a traffic stop to “check the registration on this plate soon;” the Board made the letter public with the judge’s consent.  Letter to Reinaker (Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board December 13, 2019).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for endorsing on his Facebook page his brother’s campaign for a position on the school board.  Public Warning of Saucedo (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 5, 2019).
  • The Utah Supreme Court approved the Judicial Conduct Commission’s reprimand of a judge for texting to court clerks a “short, graphic video showing a man’s scrotum.”  Inquiry Concerning Dow (Utah Supreme Court September 13, 2019).

 

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