5 years ago this month:
- Adopting masters’ findings of fact, the California Commission on Judicial Performance removed a judge from office for authoring and showing to his courtroom clerk a “crude and vile” anonymous letter accusing her of infidelity; engaging in a course of conduct over 2 months to convince her to become involved in a closer personal relationship, including giving her money and other gifts; accusing her of extortion to ensure her silence; and providing legal advice to her son. Inquiry Concerning Saucedo, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 1, 2015).
- The Florida Supreme Court removed a judge from office for threatening to commit violence against an assistant public defender, engaging in a physical altercation with the public defender, and resuming his docket while defendants were without counsel. Inquiry Concerning Murphy, 181 So. 3d 1169 (Florida 2015).
- Based on the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for his treatment of an investigator for the attorney general’s office during a hearing. In re Easterling, Order (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission December 18, 2015).
- With the judge’s consent, the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities released a private reprimand that states that investigative counsel investigated allegations that the judge had received commissions as a real estate agent involving property included in estates being supervised by the orphans’ court over which she presided. In the Matter of Phelps, Private reprimand (Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities November 6, 2015) .
- Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 1 month for 2 incidents of inappropriate touching of a court employee that demeaned, belittled, and publicly humiliated her. In the Matter of Council, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court December 3, 2015).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for creating the appearance that he was biased in favor of the town in a dangerous dog case by sua sponte sending hearing notices to witnesses whom he speculated would be needed to testify for the town, summarily ending the hearing at the conclusion of the prosecutor’s case, failing to allow the defendant or her witnesses to testify, and deciding in favor of the town without including statutorily-mandated conditions consistent with the ruling. In the Matter of Heintz, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 17, 2015).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge who, while arraigning 2 defendants charged with environmental conservation law violations, listened to a defendant’s “version of the story,” reviewed a map of the alleged trespass site, identified locations on the map, discussed with the defendants whether the locations were public or private, asked the defendants about the events, and listened to their explanations, and failed to set a court date for about 10 months. In the Matter of Trickler, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 17, 2015).
- The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for driving while under the influence of alcohol and repeatedly asserting his judicial office in connection with his arrest. In the Matter of Landicino, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 28, 2015).
- Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a chancellor for an order dismissing a complaint for divorce and a counter complaint with language analyzing the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage in Obergerfell v. Holdges. Re Atherton (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct December 18, 2015).