Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a pro tem judge for providing false information to law enforcement investigating her client.  Gillis, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct January 11, 2020).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for holding a litigant trying to pay a fine in contempt without due process for his conduct at the counter in the clerk’s office and ordering law enforcement to arrest him for disorderly conduct and interfering with judicial proceedings.  Riggs, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct March 17, 2020).
  • Based on stipulations and an agreement, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1) engaging in “undignified, discourteous, and offensive sexualized (or otherwise crude) conduct in the workplace;” (2) engaging in a pattern of conduct that was undignified, discourteous, and offensive and conveyed, at a minimum, the appearance of bias against prosecutors; (3) creating at least the appearance of retaliation against a deputy district attorney he believed had filed a complaint against him; (4) improperly commenting about peremptory challenges; (5) asking an African-American defendant to stop “shucking and jiving;” and (6) saying in open court about a statement by his bailiff, “He doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.”  Inquiry Concerning Bennett, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance March 25, 2020).
  • Approving the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Judicial Qualifications Commission based on a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court reprimanded in writing 5 judges for sending a letter encouraging the Florida Department of Children and Families to award a contract to a particular vendor.  Inquiry Concern Lederman, Caballero, Figarola, Pooler, and Ruiz (Florida Supreme Court March 26, 2020).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to supervise her law clerk, approving her clerk’s inaccurate timesheets, and exchanging inappropriate emails with her law clerk.  Public Reprimand of Leahy (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards March 19, 2020).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for, during a hearing on a request to impose restraints against a defendant, giving “vent to his personal disdain for the plaintiff’s decision to file” the proceeding; chastising both litigants and the defendant’s husband who was present; and demonstrating a lack of self-control that was “inimical to a jurist’s role as a neutral and dispassionate arbiter.”  In the Matter of Rivas, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court March 23, 2020).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s resignation and agreement not to seek or accept judicial office, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a former non-lawyer judge; in a formal complaint, the Commission had alleged that the judge had (1) operated a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license for over 8 years; (2) failed to deposit or account for approximately $743 in cash received in payment for fines; (3) from September 2011 through October 2018, made 13 deposits in his court bank account that differed the amount received by his court, resulting in a cumulative deficiency of $1,283; (4) from September 2011 through October 2018, received court funds in at least 64 cases for which he failed to issue and/or maintain receipts as required by law; (5) for the entire period in which he was a judge, failed to maintain adequate court records as required by law; (6) from March 2011 through October 2018, failed to report the dispositions of 40 traffic tickets to the Department of Motor Vehicles as required by law; (7) from February 2012 to April 2017, failed to mechanically record court proceedings, contrary to court rules and administrative orders; and (8) failed to cooperate with the Office of the State Comptroller, town officials, and the Commission about his apparent financial, reporting, and record keeping inadequacies.  In the Matter of Gardner, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 13, 2020).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge from office for (1) without complying with mandatory procedural safeguards for contempt, sentencing litigants in 2 cases to 30 days in jail, ordering litigants in 4 cases to be taken into custody in handcuffs and held for 15 minutes to 2 hours, and threatening to order that 2 other family court litigants and the mother of a litigant be handcuffed and detained; (2) being discourteous to court personnel; (3) being discourteous to litigants; (4) presiding over matters in which his friend appeared without disclosing the relationship and failing to disclose that a construction company affiliated with a party in a matter was performing work at the home of his law secretary; (5) conducting gun permit interviews at inappropriate locations and requiring his court secretary to work on Saturdays without compensation; (6) practicing law while a full-time judge; and (7) using his judicial title in his personal email.  In the Matter of McGuire, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 18, 2020).
  • Reviewing a public reprimand by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, a Texas Special Court of Review publicly warned a judge for failing to respond to the Commission’s inquiry.  In re Slaughter, Opinion (Texas Special Court of Review March 19, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for at least 8 posts on her judicial Facebook page congratulating 12 attorneys on winning jury verdicts in her court and lauding the results and their professional backgrounds.  Public Admonition of Gonzalez (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 18, 2020).

 

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