20 years ago this month:
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for (1) a pattern of abusing the prestige of judicial office and using court resources in connection with personal matters, (2) a pattern of impatient, undignified, and discourteous conduct toward court staff and persons appearing before him, and (3) an ex parte communication with jurors in which he denied a request for a transcript. Public Admonishment of Coates (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 12, 2000).
- Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge from office for (1) during a conversation at a charity event, urging a prosecutor to “be reasonable” in offering pleas in a murder case and not to worry about “giving away” the case because no one cared because the victim was “just some old n****r b***h;” (2) making disparaging remarks about Italian Americans at a charity dinner and during his election campaign; (3) during jury deliberations in a rape case, pressing a prosecutor to offer a plea to a misdemeanor charge so that he could “get out of this f***ing black hole of Utica” and threatening to declare a mistrial if she refused; and (4) testifying during criminal proceedings that he had discussed the defendant with 2 attorneys when he had not. In the Matter of Mulroy, 731 N.E.2d 120 (New York 2000).
- The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge for (1) requiring indigent defendants to pay for assigned counsel by performing community service, (2) failing to advise defendants of their right to counsel and taking action against them without notice to their lawyers when he knew that they were represented, (3) exhibiting bias before conviction by threatening defendants with jail and calling them names, (4) repeatedly using intemperate language, (5) jailing without bail defendants who were statutorily entitled to bail, (6) summarily convicting on criminal contempt charges individuals whom he concluded had violated a court order, (7) failing to disqualify from cases in which he was the complaining witness and in which he had knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts, and (8) frequently engaging in ex parte communication. In the Matter of Buckley, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 6, 2000).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for writing an intemperate letter to another judge advancing the prosecutor’s position in a criminal case pending before the other judge. In the Matter of Howell, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 6, 2000).