Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former judge for, in open court, telling an attorney, in part:  “I remember you . . . I recuse myself from your cases . . . you are the gentleman who yelled at the lady who is now my wife;” stating that the attorney was disrespectful to other women based on rumors he had heard in the community; stating that he was concerned the attorney was a “misogynist;” and brusquely ordering the attorney from his courtroom.  Castillo, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct February 5, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1)(a) failing to make pension payments to his ex-wife for nearly 2 years and deliberately failing to inform her that he was retired and receiving his military pension; (b) making false statements that impugned the integrity of his ex-wife’s former attorney; (c) directing which judge on his court would handle the stipulation and order settling the pension issue with his ex-wife; (2)(a) sending a disparaging, undignified, and discourteous e-mail response to the assistant presiding judge’s inquiry about his availability to help cover the court’s calendar; (b) responding intemperately to the rotation of a particular court reporter to his courtroom; and (3) failing to disqualify himself when a close personal friend appeared as an attorney in cases and failing to disclose the relationship.  Inquiry Concerning Trice (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 4, 2016).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for a pattern of failing to disclose the campaign contributions of attorneys who appeared before him after the election.  In the Matter Concerning Walsh, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 10, 2016).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for deliberately engaging a deputy district attorney in an ex parte communication about a case that was pending sentencing before him.  In the Matter of Scott, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 17, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s stipulation and consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for an ex parte telephone conversation with the deputy district attorney assigned to a criminal case regarding the contested issue of the release of the defendant from jail on his own recognizance and the judge’s disqualification; releasing the defendant on his own recognizance before receiving the deputy district attorney’s motion contesting the release and then disqualifying himself without sufficient reason; and failing to disqualify himself before ruling on the defendant’s release.  In the Matter of Fletcher, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline February 12, 2016).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for representing a woman in a divorce proceeding after taking action on mutual harassment complaints filed by her and her husband and while those actions were pending in his court and failing to immediately disqualify himself from harassment complaints after undertaking the representation.  In the Matter of Bowkley, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court February 3, 2016).
  • Granting a petition to accept a stipulation agreement and consent to discipline, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for permitting and engaging in an impermissible ex parte phone conversation with the plaintiff’s attorney that involved substantive matters in a civil case.  In the Matter of Singleton, Order and public censure (New Mexico Supreme Court February 11, 2016).
  • Adopting findings of fact and misconduct, which the parties had stipulated, the Ohio Supreme Court permanently disbarred a former judge who was convicted in federal court of honest-services mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud related to his judicial duties.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Terry, 63 N.E.3d 88 (Ohio 2016).
  • Without an opinion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Court of Judicial Discipline removing a judge from office for not filing state and federal tax returns for 5 years, failing to remit approximately $130 in sales tax owed by a shoe store she owned, opening the shoe store without a license, and pleading guilty to 3 misdemeanors (for dismissing several of her own tickets) and 1 summary offense (the business license violation).  In re Ballentine, 132 A.3d 454 (Pennsylvania 2016), affirming In re Ballentine, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline August 4, 2015).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) failing to take immediate steps to disqualify himself and/or transfer his own divorce case out of his court and filing motions in his own court in connection with the pending divorce action and (2) failing to timely rule on or refer the recusal motions filed by the attorney representing his wife in other matters, attempting to intervene in proceedings relating to his own recusal, and displaying a personal animus against the attorney representing his wife; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete 6 additional hours of instruction.  Public Reprimand of Herrera and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 24, 2016).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for entering judgments finding defendants guilty of illegal parking violations that were not supported by a proper complaint or probable cause and imposing fines for these offenses in excess of amounts allowed by law; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 10 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Warning of Jones and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 29, 2016).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former justice of the peace for dismissing criminal cases without a motion from the prosecutor; frequent and extended absences from the court; delays and confusion caused by his handling of a case; and using court funds for his personal financial benefit.  Public Reprimand of Stringer (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 29, 2016).

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