Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for repeatedly continuing post-trial hearings in a criminal case in response to statements a criminal defense attorney made at sidebar during a trial without citing the attorney for contempt or issuing an order to show cause; failing to give the attorney notice of the subject of one of the hearings, improperly excluding the attorney from the hearing, and engaging in improper ex parte communications before the hearing; and contacting another judge to obtain information about another possible contempt matter concerning the attorney.  Public Admonishment of Connolly (California Commission on Judicial Conduct March 23, 2016).
  • Following a hearing on a complaint brought by the Judicial Inquiry Board, the Illinois Courts Commission suspended 1 judge for 4 months without pay for presiding over cases in which the husband of a judge with whom he was having an affair represented a party without disclosing the relationship and for a pattern of deceptive conduct to hide the affair from the chief judge and publicly censured the judge with whom he was having the affair for knowing that he was presiding in cases involving her husband but failing to initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against him.  In re Drazewski and Foley, Order (Illinois Courts Commission March 11, 2016).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court removed a judge for mishandling multiple peace bond proceedings, including failing to timely refund money paid to him after the bonds had expired without forfeiture; extending peace bonds beyond the 6-month maximum term allowed by law; exceeding the $1,000 maximum limit for peace bonds; charging fees in peace bond proceedings that exceeded the amount allowed by law; imposing sentences on peace bond defendants that exceeded the maximum allowed by the code of criminal procedure; issuing peace bonds that interfered with family court proceedings; issuing peace bonds without a hearing as required by law; being rude and discourteous; allowing his staff to be rude and discourteous; and failing to properly notarize peace bond applications.  In re Laiche, 198 So. 3d 86 (Louisiana 2016).
  • With the judge’s consent, the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities released its private reprimand of a judge for appearing in a court where he was assigned as a recall judge for a trial on a ticket he received.  In the Matter of Plitt, Private reprimand (Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities March 15, 2016).
  • The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline permanently barred a former judge from judicial office in the state based on his federal plea agreement to charges related to a conspiracy to devise and execute a scheme or artifice to defraud and obtain money or property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, half-truths, and promises.  In the Matter of Jones, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline March 1, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for independently investigating the father in a paternity case and then holding him in contempt without following procedures required by due process and failing to enter a visitation order in the case for over a year.  In the Matter of Wanker, Stipulation and order of consent (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline March 3, 2016).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which were accepted by the judge, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge and permanently barred him from serving in judicial office for (1) presiding in 4 cases in which he had a conflict of interest; (2) making improper and derogatory remarks during 2 court proceedings; (3) dismissing a parking violation against a litigant using a procedure that conflicted with the rule and guidelines regarding plea agreements; and (4) engaging in plea negotiations with numerous defendants charged with driving while on the suspended or revoked list.  In the Matter of Scattergood, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court March 8, 2016).
  • Based on joint stipulations of fact, violations, and aggravating and mitigating factors, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former magistrate for 2 years, with 18 months stayed with conditions, for his sexual relationship with a party in an eviction action over which he presided as a magistrate, his falsification of a loan application for the purchase of a motor vehicle for her, and his misappropriation of wrongful-death proceeds that were intended to finance an annuity for the benefit of a decedent’s minor children.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Williams, 49 N.E.3d 289 (Ohio 2016).
  • • Based on stipulations of fact in lieu of trial, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline fined a former supreme court justice $50,000 for participating in an exchange of e-mails with friends and professional acquaintances that were insensitive and contained inappropriate references to gender, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, using his Commonwealth-issued computer equipment and a personal web-based e-mail address. In re Eakin, 150 A.3d 1042 (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline 2016).
  • • Pursuant to an agreement with the judge, the investigative panel of the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for an ex parte meeting and e-mail with members of the district attorney general’s office regarding the types of dispositions she would accept in domestic violence court. Reprimand of Walker (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct March 23, 2016).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for attempting to pull a driver over for reckless driving, having a police officer pull the driver over, and threatening to have the driver incarcerated without legal justification; the Commission also ordered the judge to receive 2 hours of additional education. Public Warning of Brady and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 3, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for regularly interrupting litigants and attorneys and addressing them in an unduly confrontational, loud, and harsh manner; the judge also agreed to participate in ethics training.  In re Canada-Thurston, Stipulation, agreement, order of reprimand (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 4, 2016).

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