Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Based on an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 180 days without pay for (1) presiding over a case for over 3 years even though he had an oil and gas lease agreement with one of the defendants and had a dispute with the company; (2) making numerous calls to the city police department; (3) numerous inappropriate interactions with elected officials and city employees; (4) numerous inappropriate communications with a TV channel manager complaining that programs were politically motivated; (5) leaving voicemail messages for an attorney who regularly practiced before him in which he referred to the attorney as a “coward” and “prick;” (6) inappropriate political activity; (7) 2 months after a case was voluntarily dismissed, engaging in an ex parte communication with an attorney in the case and then holding a status hearing during which he questioned another attorney about his motivation for bringing the lawsuit and accused him of engaging in unethical behavior by issuing improper subpoenas; (8) despite expressing interest in the outcome of a challenge to an election for city commission and criticizing the incumbent candidate, entering a final judgment disqualifying a candidate and naming the successful candidate; (9) numerous inappropriate communications with employees of a newspaper; and (10) presiding over 17 cases in which a company or one of its subsidiaries was a party even though he had a financial relationship with the company and testifying under oath in a temporary suspension hearing before the Commission that he had disclosed the relationship on the record even though there was no disclosure in the pleadings or recorded hearings.  In re Combs, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission October 1, 2015).
  • The Minnesota Supreme Court removed a judge for failing to reside within his judicial district and knowingly making a false statement regarding his residency in his affidavit of candidacy. Inquiry into Pendleton, 870 N.W.2d 367 (Minnesota 2015).
  • • Following a de novo proceeding, a Texas Special Court of Review publicly reprimanded a former judge for (1) a pattern of leaving the bench and failing to communicate with counsel and defendants about when or whether she would return; (2) refusing to allow an attorney to appear in her courtroom while he was attired in shorts due to a visible medical impairment; (3) ordering her bailiff to detain a prosecutor who was 8 months pregnant to prevent her from taking a break; (4) referring to an attorney as a “liar” in open court and ordering the bailiff to remove him; (5) filing a motion for reconsideration of her recusal and communicating with the presiding administrative judge about subsequent recusal; and (6) improperly requiring some defendants to pay a portion of fines or costs before she would accept their plea bargains. In re Mullin, Opinion (Special Court of Review Appointed by the Texas Supreme Court October 21, 2015).

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