Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for 6 incidents of improper demeanor and denial of the right to be heard in criminal cases; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete training on appropriate demeanor.  Hopkins (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 10, 2020).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for granting a motion to continue a trial filed by an attorney who was representing her in a traffic case.  Bracamonte, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 19, 2020).
  • Following a hearing, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission removed a judge from office for (1) pressuring members of her guardian ad litem panel to donate to her election campaign and to campaign on her behalf and removing an attorney from the panel because he did not provide as much support for her campaign as she wanted; (2) having court staff work on her campaign during office hours on paid time; leaving the courthouse with her case specialist and secretary during regular court hours; and approving timesheets for numerous employees that she knew were inaccurate; (3) requiring her case specialist to resign so that she could hire a man with whom she had a romantic relationship; allowing him to engage in inappropriate conduct, including playing his guitar and singing in the office during work hours; permitting employees to consume alcohol in her chambers and in his office; pretending to engage in sexual activity with him and her secretary in his office during work hours; and improperly delegating responsibilities to him; (4) making inappropriate sexual advances toward an attorney; failing to disqualify herself from the attorney’s cases; and filing a bar complaint to retaliate for the attorney’s cooperation in the Commission’s investigation; (5) putting the school liaison officer’s cases at the end of the docket because they disagreed about how to handle certain types of cases; (6) appointing personal friends who were campaign supporters to represent individuals seeking de facto custodian status without requiring them to come to court to receive appointments; and (7) failing to be candid and honest with the Commission.  In re Gentry, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and final order (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission August 31, 2020).
  • Based on the presentment of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended a former judge for 3 months without pay for withholding from the police relevant information about the whereabouts of her boyfriend even though she knew that there were warrants out for his arrest and, when she was arrested for hindering apprehension, telling the police officers that she had been “vetted” and asking to be handcuffed with her hands in front.  In the Matter of Brady (New Jersey Supreme Court August 6, 2020).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s retirement and affirmation that she will neither seek nor accept judicial office, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct terminated proceedings against a judge who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  In the Matter of Simpson, Decision (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 31, 2020).
  • Accepting a stipulation based the judge’s resignation and affirmation that she will neither seek nor accept judicial office, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a formal complaint against a non-lawyer judge alleging that she had failed to properly or timely execute various judicial duties, such as reporting and accounting for court cases and funds, and failed to cooperate with investigations or inquiries into those matters by government agencies.  In the Matter of Branagan, Decision (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 6, 2020).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for shouting, yelling, or otherwise raising her voice more than 10 times and without basis at court staff members and attorneys despite having been cautioned by the Commission in 2006 to be patient, dignified, and courteous to those with whom she dealt in an official capacity.  In the Matter of Pineda-Kirwan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 12, 2020).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for (1) giving a defendant a ride home after his arraignment and presiding over his case without disclosing the ride to the prosecution; (2) failing to advise unrepresented defendants in a criminal case of the right to have counsel assigned by the court and failing to comply with other requirements of the criminal procedure law; and (3) summarily directing that a man be removed from the courtroom based on the man’s attire without giving him the opportunity to be heard.  In the Matter of Parker, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 13, 2020).
  • Adopting the findings of the Board of Professional Conduct, which adopted the findings of a 3-member panel based on stipulations, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimand a judge for driving while intoxicated and referring to her judicial office during the traffic stop.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Hawkins (Ohio Supreme Court August 12, 2020).

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