Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulated disposition and agreed statement of facts, the California Commission on Judicial Performance severely censured a judge for a wide variety of misconduct, including remanding people to custody without following proper contempt procedures for whispering or appearing to fall asleep in court; being rude and insulting to a deputy public defender on 5 occasions; putting inordinate pressure on prosecutors to offer dispositions and on defendants to enter guilty pleas; and frequently and arbitrarily dismissing misdemeanor cases if the prosecution was unable to proceed on the day set for trial without the 10-day grace period allowed by the penal code.  Inquiry Concerning Ormsby, Decision and Order of Public Censure (California Commission on Judicial Performance March 20, 1996).
  • Reviewing a special masters’ report and the record de novo, the Indiana Supreme Court removed a judge from office for participating in harassment directed toward a court employee and her family; the Court also suspended the judge from the practice of law for no less than 2 years.  In the Matter of McClain, 662 N.E.2d 935 (Indiana 1996).
  • The Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 3 days without pay for intemperate and abusive conduct toward an attorney.  In the Matter of Hocking, 546 N.W.2d 234 (Michigan 1996).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing over 6 years to advise defendants in traffic cases of a trial date upon receipt of not guilty pleas as required by statute and meeting ex parte with prosecutors to discuss plea reductions negotiated with defendants by the prosecution.  In the Matter of Bregman, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 1996).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and recommendation between the Commission administrator and a judge, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for signing as complaining witness and filing with the other judge of his court 30 informations against individuals that the judge had apprehended on the property of a private club where he was superintendent and using judicial stationery in several letters to his fellow judge and to the district attorney in connection with the cases.  In the Matter of Hoag, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 1996).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge for failing to remit court funds to the state comptroller by the tenth day of the month following collection as required by statute, failing to respond to 3 letters from staff counsel, and failing without explanation to appear to give testimony.  In the Matter of Driscoll, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 1996).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of fact and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for stepping off a roadway into some bushes in a park and raising his shorts, exposing himself; informing the arresting police officers that he was a judge even though they had not asked about his occupation; and, stating to a lieutenant at the police station that his arrest would be devastating because of his judicial position.  In the Matter of D’Amico, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 21, 1996).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for making an improper, ex parte telephone call to the victim in an assault case and conducting night and weekend arraignments in the police station even though a courtroom was available.  In the Matter of Cerbone, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 21, 1996).
  • Agreeing with the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommended sanction of the Board of Commissioners on Judicial Standards, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for having sexual intercourse with a litigant in a case before the judge.  In the Matter of Gravely, 467 S.E.2d 924 (South Carolina 1996).

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