5 years ago this month:
- The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for having an ex parte conversation about a family law case with a Department of Child Safety caseworker and, without allowing the parties an opportunity to be heard, issuing a ruling that discussed and cited the ex parte conversation as a basis for denying the relief sought by the mother. Garcia, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 12, 2015).
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for (1) being aggressive and heavy-handed when interacting with a member of court administration regarding the re-assignment of another judge’s courtroom clerk and (2) summoning an attorney to his chambers and suggesting that a declaration should not be filed due to his concerns about the court’s reputation and the other judge’s family. Public Admonishment of Fielder (California Commission on Judicial Performance May 14, 2015).
- Based on a stipulation for discipline by consent and the judge’s irrevocable resignation, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a former judge and barred him holding judicial office for failing to disclose on financial disclosure forms the $250,000 he had received from the dissolution of a joint venture in a county contract for indigent defense and failing to disclose or disqualify when attorneys who had an interest in the contract appeared before him. Inquiry Concerning Garcia, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance May 18, 2015).
- Agreeing with the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court removed a judge from office and fined him $3,500 for (1) failing to follow the law in drug court; (2) attending a meeting between a suspended bail bondsman and the sheriff; and (3) depriving a drug court participant of her right to counsel of her choosing by threatening to hold her retained counsel in contempt if she did not sit down. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Thompson, 169 So. 3d 857 (Mississippi 2015).
- Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for abusing her contempt power and failing to be honest with the Commission; the judge also agreed to take a minimum of 2 courses at the National Judicial College and to familiarize herself with the statutes and rules governing the contempt power. In the Matter of Leavitt, Stipulation and order (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline May 8, 2015).
- The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) holding a “marathon” court session lasting until 4:00 a.m.; (2) describing the district attorney as a “New York Jew;” (3) expelling the district attorney from her courtroom; and (4) telling a prosecutor his beard made him look like a “Muslim;” the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 4 hours of instruction with a mentor. Public Admonition of Schildknecht and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 11, 2015).
- The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge for failing to provide public documents and information to citizens regarding cases in her court; failing to timely execute the business of the court; failing to hold jury or bench trials; failing to reduce her rulings to final, written, appealable judgments; failing to maintain proper records; and failing to conduct proper fiscal management. Public Admonition of Johnson (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 14, 2015).
- Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a former part-time judge for under-reporting income she received as a judge and as a result collecting unemployment benefits to which she was not entitled. In re Johnson, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 1, 2015).