Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on a statement of stipulated facts, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a non-lawyer justice of the peace for 6 months without pay, followed by 2 years’ probation, for rendering a default judgment against a defendant in a small claims case without serving the defendant with notice of the suit and without convening a hearing or receiving relevant and competent evidence from the plaintiff to make a prima facie case.  In re Landry, 789 So. 2d 1271 (Louisiana 2001).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a justice court judge and fined him $100 for allowing 1 arraignment and 2 initial appearances to be photographed and electronically recorded by the news media, which broadcast the proceedings to the public.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Carr, 786 So. 2d 1055 (Mississippi 2001).
  • Adopting the findings of fact and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court removed a justice court judge from office for (1) accepting payment or partial payment of fines payable to the justice court; (2) suspending fines for violations of the implied consent law; (3) dismissing a DUI charge on his own motion; (4) engaging in ex parte communications and improperly dismissing traffic citations for 4 defendants who did not appear in court; (5) improperly dismissing a DUI charge ex parte, on his own motion, without the defendant being present and without any testimony; (6) rendering a verdict of not guilty related to a hunting violation; (7) engaging in ex parte communications and conducting justice court business at his tire and pawn shop; (8) rendering a not-guilty verdict following ex parte communications; (9) conducting a hearing concerning an alleged violation of probation in which the defendant did not receive notice and was not advised of his due process rights, his right to an attorney, or his right to remain silent; (10) suspending a fine without the authority to do so and without knowledge of the underlying charges; (11) utilizing a criminal process to collect a civil debt; (12) dismissing a criminal conviction and canceling the ordered restitution; (13) dismissing a case ex parte; (14) contacting a law enforcement officer regarding a criminal case; (15) contacting law enforcement officials during a criminal trial, engaging in other ex parte communications, and dismissing criminal charges; (18) issuing an arrest warrant for someone who did not actually owe any fines; (19) reducing the interest rate in a contract that was the subject of a civil action; (20) dismissing a speeding charge in the absence of both the arresting officer and the defendant; (21) conducting ex parte communications with a defendant regarding citations for hunting violations; (24) conducting a contempt hearing when there had been no sworn affidavit or warrant issued; (25) issuing a citation for contempt of court without providing any notice or advising of rights; (28) convicting a defendant without creating a file and without notice or hearing; (29) sentencing the justice court clerk to contempt without notice and refusing her repeated requests for an attorney; and (30) refusing to allow the justice court clerk or deputy clerk to appear in court when the judge was conducting court.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Willard, 788 So. 2d 736 (Mississippi 2001).
  • Agreeing with the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Nebraska Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for, while serving as a county attorney in 1984, altering a copy of a police report in a criminal case, providing the altered report to defense counsel, and asking the police officer who made the report to either alter his original report or alter his testimony to conform to the changes.  In re Krepela, 628 N.W.2d 262 (Nebraska 2001).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for presiding over a small claims action brought by a client whom he had represented in a traffic case involving the same incident and whose father was the judge’s friend and court assistant.  In the Matter of Hayden, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 27, 2001).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a part-time lawyer judge who had angrily confronted his wife, waved a knife close to her throat, and threatened to run her through.  In the Matter of Roepe, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 27, 2001).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) repeatedly violating the rights of 2 unrepresented 16-year old defendants, (2) refusing to accept a defendant’s not guilty plea to a charge of failure to license dogs and, without a trial, issuing an order to seize the dogs; (3) in 3 other cases, relying to the detriment of defendants on ex parte information from his daughter, the arresting officer, or the complaining witness; and (4) failing to correct the records of a case involving a mandatory youthful offender to reflect the correct disposition and to seal the records, as required by law.  In the Matter of the Rock, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 27, 2001).
  • Based on an agreement, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former magistrate for (1) communicating his personal interest in a case to the judge presiding over the case; (2) engaging in one or more communications with the arresting officers and other officers in the county sheriff’s department regarding traffic charges pending before him; and (3) negotiating the trade-in of his automobile for a new automobile with a defendant who was employed at a car dealership and later, while the charges were still pending, purchasing another vehicle from the dealership.  In the Matter of Looper, 548 S.E.2d 219 (South Carolina 2001).
  • Accepting an agreement, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a magistrate for 9 months without pay for signing an order giving public notice of a judicial sale and issuing the bill of sale at the behest of another magistrate even though the magistrate knew the requirements of the statute were not met.  In the Matter of Lynah, 548 S.E.2d 218 (South Carolina 2001).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time commissioner for serving as a lawyer and a judge in the same or a related proceeding.  In re Fuller, Stipulation, agreement, and order of admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 1, 2001).

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