5 years ago this month:
- Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on stipulations, the Louisiana Supreme Court removed a judge for (1) in a collections case, rendering a judgment without giving the defendants a meaningful opportunity to be heard, without requiring the plaintiff to present any evidence or sworn testimony, and without giving the defendants written notice of the judgment against them; displaying bias or prejudice in favor of the creditor and/or against the defendants; (2) routinely notarizing power of attorney forms when the purported affiants did not appear before him, swear out an oath, or sign the forms in his presence; and (3) using a notary stamp that gave the incorrect impression he is an attorney. In re Gremillion, 204 So. 3d 183 (Louisiana 2016).
- Based on the findings of fact and recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, which the judge did not contest, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 15 days without pay for investigating a probationer’s background through ex parte communications, adjudicating the matter without the prosecuting agency, and making observations from the bench based on his acquaintance with the probationer through their involvement in the same church. In re Best, 195 So. 3d 460 (Louisiana 2016).
- Accepting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 1 year without pay for (1) interrupting a private meeting between the family members of the victims and members of the district attorney’s office after a hearing in a criminal case before him and making an inappropriate comment; (2) abusing his contempt authority and failing to follow the proper procedures for the punishment of contempt in 2 cases; and (3) making inappropriate comments in 7 criminal cases and exhibiting a lack of proper decorum, demeanor, and temperament. In re Free, 199 So. 3d 571 (Louisiana 2016).
- Granting a joint motion for approval of a recommendation, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for endorsing a political candidate on social media, irregularities in her operation of the drug court program, deceptive responses in a newspaper interview, and routinely starting court late and exhibiting poor courtroom demeanor. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Clinkscales, 192 So. 3d 997 (Mississippi 2016).
- Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Courtsuspended a judge for 1-month without pay for misusing his judicial office to access a confidential criminal history for personal reasons. In the Matter of Batelli, Order (New Jersey Supreme CourtJune 16, 2016).