5 years ago this month:
- Based on the judge’s agreement and waiver of formal proceedings, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for consuming alcohol to a degree that it affected the performance of his duties. In re Potter, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission September 1, 2015).
- Based on the findings and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Arizona Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90 days for (1) using his court email account for campaign-related communications, including obtaining a campaign endorsement from an individual who was providing services to his court, and using unprofessional and undignified language in the communications; (2) using improper campaign photographs; (3) campaign activities at 2 official court events where he was acting in his judicial capacity; (4) posting campaign materials at a U.S. Post Office in contravention of federal law; (5) confronting a clerk during court hours about her support of his opponent; (6) failing to disclose the incident involving the clerk; and (7) retaliating against his campaign opponent. In the Matter of Grodman, Order (Arizona September 23, 2015).
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for failing to timely act on over 20 matters that had been assigned to him, signing and submitting false salary affidavits on 7 occasions, receiving his salary for judicial office in violation of law on 13 occasions, and failing to prepare a case progression plan in a case he exempted from meeting disposition time goals. Public Admonishment of Reinholtzen (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 3, 2015).
- Accepting a revised consent judgement, the Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, fined her $10,000, and publicly reprimanded her for (1) a rude and intemperate interaction with a store owner during her judicial election campaign and (2) removing court documents from a case file. Inquiry Concerning Schwartz, 174 So. 3d 987 (Florida 2015).
- Agreeing with the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance based on the judge’s agreement, the Mississippi Supreme Court removed a former chancery court judge for pleading guilty to federal felony charges of obstruction of justice during the FBI’s investigation of his mismanagement of a conservatorship. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Walker, 172 So. 3d 1165 (Mississippi 2015).
- The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for defending her decision in a sexual assault case in an interview with a newspaper reporter. Public Warning of Howard and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 5, 2015).
- The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) allowing his name and judicial title to be used to promote the private interests of a bank and his family and continuing to serve as a director of the bank after he assumed the bench; (2) making public comments about 2 cases; (3) independently investigating alleged probation violations and becoming too involved in the state’s motion to revoke a defendant’s probation; (4) improper ex parte communications with a prosecutor in 1 case and a criminal defendant in another; (5) failing to comply with the Texas Fair Defense Act and the county indigent defense plan; (6) using official judicial letterhead to demand that a neighbor reimburse him for veterinary expenses; and (7) summoning a police officer to his office and threatening to report him to the probation department concerning a private dispute between the officer’s children and relatives of the judge’s court reporter. Public Reprimand of Clifford (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 5, 2015).
- The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for sending an email to the county Republican chair offering her election opponent legal impunity, paid legal expenses, and a political endorsement if her opponent withdrew her complaint about the judge’s ballot petitions and for a Facebook post directing an offensive term to her political opponent; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete 3 additional hours of instruction. Public Warning of Wright and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 22, 2015).