State judicial discipline in 2020: Top stories of 2020

In 2020, as a result of approximately 127 public state judicial discipline proceedings:

  • 11 judges were removed from office.
  • 5 former judges were barred from serving in office again.  1 of those former judges was also suspended from the practice of law for 1 year.  2 were also publicly censured, fined $1,000 each, and permanently barred from public office.  1 was also publicly censured and barred from public office for 10 years.
  • 13 judges or former judges resigned or retired in lieu of discipline pursuant to public agreements with conduct commissions.
  • 7 judges were suspended without pay as a final sanction for 14 days to 6 months, although the 6-month suspension was stayed conditioned on the judge completing 2 hours of education and engaging in no further misconduct.  There were 3 suspensions for 30 days (1 also included a reprimand; 1 included a reprimand and $1,000 fine).  1 judge was suspended for 3 months.  1 judge was suspended for 90 days, reprimanded, and fined $2,000.
  • Approximately 7 of the cases involved former judges.  In approximately 15 of those cases, the judge was also ordered to obtain additional education, training, mentoring, or counseling.
  • 1 former judge was disbarred and 2 former judges had their law licenses suspended in attorney discipline proceedings for conduct while they were judges.  The suspensions were for 6 months, although 1 of those suspensions was stayed conditioned on the former judge completing 4 hours of education and engaging in no further misconduct.
  • In 2 cases, the judicial conduct commission made public findings of misconduct but did not impose a sanction.
  • 1 judge was retired for disability.

This count does not include approximately 8 cases currently pending on review.  Approximately 1/3 of the sanctions were entered pursuant to an agreement.  “Judge” refers to any type of judicial officer, whether full-time or part-time, including supreme court and appellate court justices, justices of the peace, magistrates, court commissioners, and hearing officers.

See also State judicial discipline in 2019.

One thought on “State judicial discipline in 2020: Top stories of 2020

  1. Pingback: State judicial discipline in 2021 | Judicial ethics and discipline

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