What judges said that got them in trouble in the second half of 2019

What judges said that got them in trouble in the first half of 2019 was summarized in a previous post

What they said to or about criminal defendants

  • “Crackers” and “homeboys.”  Judge to Caucasian and African American defendants.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Burge, 134 N.E.3d 153 (Ohio 2019) (6-month suspension of former judge’s law license for this and other misconduct).
  • “Now, if I were to believe you were that stupid, James, I would just have Deputy Motelewski shoot you right now, because I know you’re not going to make it through life.  Just tell me you knew it was stolen, that’s all.”  Judge to defendant.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Burge, 134 N.E.3d 153 (Ohio 2019) (6-month suspension of former judge’s law license for this and other misconduct).
  • “In fact, you’ve been such a headache, I was looking forward to putting you in the pen.  And I would have paid 50 bucks to give you a beating before you went.”  Judge to defendant.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Burge, 134 N.E.3d 153 (Ohio 2019) (6-month suspension of former judge’s law license for this and other misconduct).
  • “I do hope you do fight for your life every minute of every day.  And that would be the only reason that I would hope your life is any longer than six weeks.”  Judge during sentencing in a murder case.  Inquiry Concerning Lemonidis, 283 So. 3d 799 (Florida 2019) (reprimand for this and similar comments).
  • “On a lighter note, I can take judicial notice that women can drive you crazy,” and, “You know, a judge could get in trouble for something like this.”  Judge while presiding over a domestic violence case.  Inquiry Concerning Laettner, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 6, 2019) () (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “I guess it’s ok to urinate everywhere and on yourselves, be drunk in public in this town just because you don’t have any money.”  Judge to police officer who said the prosecution wanted a minimum fine for a woman who pled guilty to public drunkenness and related conduct.  In re Hladio, Opinion (March 25, 2019), Opinion (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline October 4, 2019) (reprimand of former judge for this and other misconduct).

What they said to litigants in family court cases

  • “Can you point me to one thing you’ve done in your life as an adult, so we are talking about since you turned 18, that would demonstrate, not just words, but demonstrate that you can stick with something to the end, see it through and successfully complete?”  Judge to father in termination of parental rights proceeding.  Public Admonition of Bailey (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 16, 2019).
  • “My children would never allow me to go to jail for any reason whatsoever . . . I’m appalled because my children respect me so much they would never allow that to happen.”  Judge berating and threatening 15-year-old twin boys whose mother was held in contempt because they refused to visit their father.  In re Foster, 832 S.E.2d 684 (North Carolina 2019) (censure for this and related misconduct).
  • The mother was “just calling me giving me a different side.”  Judge to a father in one of a series of ex parte calls about pending child custody and visitation issues.  In the Matter of Wiggins, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary November 18, 2019) (reprimand).

What they said to or about litigants in civil cases

  • “I’m going to do whatever I can to convince you that that’s [a jury trial] is a bad choice.  But I don’t think I’m going to be successful.  I think you’re going to insist upon it, and you are.  And you have the right.  You certainly have the right.  But I’ll tell you the only time I’ve seen someone in your position take a case to a jury trial, it was an unmitigated disaster.  And I warned the plaintiff.  But yeah, you have the right to do it, but you have the same right to perform brain surgery on yourself.  And I think they’re both equally imprudent.”  Judge attempting to dissuade the plaintiff in a civil case from exercising her right to a jury trial.  McMurry, Amended order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct November 8, 2019).
  • “I guess I have to say, from my perspective, it seems like we got to drag Paul screaming and kicking to do what we have told him to do.”  Judge in probate case in which he failed to hold the guardian accountable for over seven years.  In re Lewis, Public reprimand (Vermont Judicial Conduct Board September 6, 2019), based on a stipulation.

What they said to or about attorneys

  • “Entirely inexperienced,” “repeating the bull***t” to which the defendant testified, and turning a “slam-dunk” case into a “60-40” one for the defendant.  Judge in email to paralegal in U.S. Attorney’s Office about the performance of an Assistant U.S. Attorney in a case over which he was presiding.  In re Bruce, Memorandum (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit May 14, 2019) (admonishment for practice of ex parte communications with the U.S. Attorney’s Office).
  • “Not a game.  Trial is 2/22/17.  You agreed to send subpoenaed trial date.  Not a game.  Not a game.  That is the trial date.  Not a game.  This is the trial date.  No more repeats of what happened this past Friday.  Not a game.  That is the date.  You agreed to send revised dates.  That is the scheduled trial date.  Sick of this.  Respect for the city if [sic] Camden.  Respect for our court.”  Judge in one of a series of aggressive, ex parte emails on New Year’s Eve to a prosecutor about scheduling a trial.  In the Matter of Jones-Tucker, Order(New Jersey Supreme Court November 20, 2019), based on a presentment (reprimand for this and related misconduct).
  • “I need to move this along; I have a lot of cases left on the calendar.  I’m not giving you time right now.”  Judge, sharply, to a female deputy public defender who was new to the felony trial department.  Inquiry Concerning Jacobson, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 19, 2019) (admonishment for this and other misconduct).
  • “ENOUGH.”  Hearing master shouting repeatedly at attorney who objected to her questions to his client, a juvenile.  In the Matter of Henry, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline December 12, 2019) (admonishment).
  • “Without lawful authority . . . with perhaps nefarious motivations . . . .”  Judge unsealing documents and finding, without notice or a reasonable evidentiary basis in a case to which he was not assigned, that attorneys had filed documents under seal to prevent the estranged spouse of one of the attorneys from learning about a large fee.  In re Spanner, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 22, 2019) (reprimand).
  • “What’s going to happen now is your client is going to pay $25,000 to settle this case right now or I am going to report you to the Appellate Division Second Department.  That’s your license counselor.”  Judge to attorney in off-the-record conference in chambers.  In the Matter of Edwards, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 23, 2019) (admonition).
  • “Sometimes having you in here is like having a teenage daughter—you constantly argue with me and you just keep talk, talk, talking until you get what you want.”  Judge to female deputy public defender.  Inquiry Concerning Laettner, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 6, 2019) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “[Y]our parents hadn’t spanked you enough.”  Judge to female deputy public defender.  Inquiry Concerning Laettner, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 6, 2019) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “I saw you on TV last night.”  Judge repeatedly telling female deputy public defender she looked like an actress on the TV show “Doc Martin.”  Inquiry Concerning Laettner, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 6, 2019) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “What kind of Asian [are you]?”  Judge to deputy district attorney.  Inquiry Concerning Laettner, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 6, 2019) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “She’s the attractive young Asian woman.”  Judge to attorney looking for a deputy district attorney.  Inquiry Concerning Laettner, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 6, 2019) (removal for this and other misconduct).

What they said to or about court staff

  • “She did not know what she started.”  Judge in filing a complaint against a clerk in retaliation for the sexual harassment allegations she made against him.  In re O’Shea, Order (Illinois Courts Commission September 27, 2019).
  • “Quite tall,” “very pretty,” and “[you will] enjoy looking at her.”  Judge to prospective jurors about his court reporter.  Inquiry Concerning Laettner, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 6, 2019) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “Something pretty to look at.”  Judge explaining to a law intern why he had asked her to attend a meeting.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Horton (Ohio Supreme Court October 10, 2019) (indefinite suspension of former judge from the practice of law for this and other misconduct).
  • “Number one priority.”  Judge telling clerks how he wanted them to treat him.  In re Hladio, Opinion (March 25, 2019), Opinion (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline October 4, 2019) (reprimand of former judge for this and other misconduct).
  • “Meow.”  Judge making “cat noises” while sitting close to the court manager’s desk after she complained to human resources about his obsessive conduct regarding whether she liked him as a friend.  Judicial Commission v. Kachinsky, 930 N.W.2d 252 (Wisconsin 2019) (three-year suspension of former judge from eligibility for appointment as a reserve judge for this and related misconduct).
  • “Feel free to report me to HR.  I feel spunky this morning.”  Judge in email to the court manager after she complained to human resources about his obsessive conduct regarding whether she liked him as a friend.  Judicial Commission v. Kachinsky, 930 N.W.2d 252 (Wisconsin 2019).
  • “Are you afraid of me now?”  Judge, lunging over court manager’s desk, after she complained to human resources about his obsessive conduct regarding whether she liked him as a friend.  Judicial Commission v. Kachinsky, 930 N.W.2d 252 (Wisconsin 2019) (3-year suspension of former judge from eligibility for appointment as a reserve judge for this and related misconduct).

What political comments they made

  • “Nothing more than the hobgoblin of a small-minded, mouthbreathing, Tea Party type whose political style and abilities uniquely qualify him to do nothing.”  Judge in letter on court stationery to state representatives about the sponsor of proposed legislation.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Burge, 134 N.E.3d 153 (Ohio 2019) (six-month suspension of law license of former judge for this and other misconduct).
  • “Corrupt.”  Judge about governor in letter to the editor published during the governor’s re-election campaign.  In the Matter of Chamberlain, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 5, 2019) (proceedings closed based on judge’s resignation and agreement not to seek or accept judicial office).
  • “The young black men – and it’s primarily young black men rather than young black women – charged with felony offenses, they’re not getting good advice from their parents.  Who do they get advice from?  Rag-tag organizations like Black Lives Matters, which tell you, ‘Resist police,” which is the worst thing in the world you could tell a young black man . . . they teach contempt for the police, for the whole justice system.”  Judge to reporter.  Public Warning of McSpadden (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 12, 2019).
  • “IF WE WANT TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN WE WILL HAVE TO MAKE EVIL PEOPLE FEAR PUNISHMENT AGAIN.”  Judge’s post on Facebook account with picture of a noose.  In the Matter of Canning, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 12, 2019) (proceeding closed based on judge’s resignation and agreement not to seek or accept judicial office).
  • “As I watched the confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh, I became more and more disgusted and concerned for the future of the Supreme Court . . . not because he comes from a political party different from mine, but because of his character and conduct.”  Judge explaining why he had closed his courtroom and draped black fabric over the door.  Public Admonition of Lipscombe (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 8, 2019).

What they said that abused the prestige of office

  • “What do you think you’re doing pulling me over?  For blowing my horn?” and “You better check the registration on this plate soon, mister.”  Judge to police officer during traffic stop.  Letter to Reinaker (Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board December 13, 2019) (letter of counsel).
  • “What is this b***s***?” and “Take this s**t down.”  Judge to store employees about smoking paraphernalia in window display, while referring to his judicial office.  In the Matter of Tawil, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 12, 2019) (censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “Give him a break.”  Judge to police chief about a pending traffic stop in which his former brother-in-law was the driver.  In the Matter of Mann, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 5, 2019) (proceeding closed based on judge’s resignation and agreement not to seek or accept judicial office).
  • “Help [me] out.”  Judge to sheriff’s investigator about prostitution charge against woman whose family he knew.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Sutton, 275 So.3d 1062 (Mississippi 2019) (reprimand and fine for this and similar misconduct).
  • “The Honorable James Oakley, Burnet County Judge.”  With judge’s permission, on campaign materials for candidate for board of elective cooperative.  In re Oakley, Opinion (Texas Special Court of Review October 25, 2019) (admonishment).
  • “Now as a parent I learned one thing, and as a judge, when you say stay away to a young person, they often don’t stay away.”  Judge in court when representing his daughter, who was petitioning for an order of protection.  In the Matter of Edwards, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 20, 2019).
  • “[I am] a current Part-Time Town Justice” and would never “intentionally make a racist comment.”  Judge when confronted by another judge about an insensitive remark he made when acting as a private attorney.  In the Matter of Tawil, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 12, 2019).

What they said in their personal lives

  • “I’m not denying that I said something or egged it on … because I drink … I mean I fully acknowledge that I drink and get mouthy, and I’m fiery and I’m feisty, but if I would have ever thought for a second that they were gonna fight or that that guy had a gun on him, I would never, never ….”  Judge to police officer after a verbal altercation she and 2 other judges had with 2 men in a White Castle parking lot led a physical altercation and the other 2 judges being shot.  In the Matter of Adams, Jacobs, and Bell, 134 N.E.3d 50 (Indiana 2019).
  • “[She] goes from older men to older men with money.”  Judge during a telephone conversation with a man she believed was the estranged husband of a woman she believed was cohabitating with her estranged husband.  Public Admonition of Rocha and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 26, 2019).
  • “This is my livelihood!” and “Judas Iscariot.”  Judge publicly confronting people who supported his campaign opponent.  In re Maruszczak, Opinion (January 9, 2019), Opinion (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline October 4, 2019) (reprimand).
  • “For all we know, he could be frying up some platanos in the front seat.”  Judge about a party’s ethnicity in a summation while acting as a private attorney in a civil case.  In the Matter of Tawil, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 12, 2019) (censure for this and other misconduct).

 

 

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