What they said that got them in trouble so far in 2021

In court proceedings

  • “[I] just can’t.” Judge, apparently tired, in response to information that someone was attempting to appear in court via Zoom at the end of a calendar. In re Burchett, Stipulation, agreement, and order of reprimand (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 23, 2021).
  • “I know who you are. You’re the lady that likes to flim-flam people,” and “If you mess with my son, I’ll bust your a**. Do you hear me? I’ll bust your a**.” Judge during hearing to pro se traffic defendant who asked the judge to recuse because she was probably going to sue his son to obtain the name of the driver who had struck her vehicle in the parking lot of a Waffle House and left the scene. In the Matter of Price, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary June 15, 2021) (3-month suspension without pay and censure).
  • “Don’t lie to me;” “That is a lie;” “Appalling;” “That’s baloney;” “Pathetic;” “Both of you are doing terribly, and there isn’t a chance in the world these children are coming home if you continue doing what you’re doing;” and “You’re clean? And you expect me to believe that?” Judge to parents during dependency hearings in multiple cases. Public Admonishment of Roberts (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 18, 2021).
  • What we’re not going to have in this jury is people coming in overnight and thinking up s*** and try to make s*** up now so they can get out of the jury. That’s not going to happen. All right. All right. Because if I find that someone said something yesterday under oath and changes it because they’re trying to fabricate something to get out of serving on this jury, there’s going to be repercussions.” Judge, during voir dire in a criminal case, berating a prospective juror for expressing her belief that she could not be impartial. In the Matter of Scotti, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline March 15, 2021).
  • “Let me tell you, you’ve been given a gift from God because there’s no question in my mind that you’re guilty of this crime. . . . What you do with it is your choice. Fair enough?” Judge to defendant who had been acquitted by a jury. In the Matter Concerning Connolly, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 2, 2021) (admonishment for this and other misconduct).
  • “Okay. I’m going to stop you there. Because we’re done. All right. I am not releasing either of these people, with these charges. There are multiple charges. If you wished to present this evidence, you should have been here or had someone represent you.” Judge to 2 criminal defense attorneys who appeared by phone for an arraignment the day after the governor issued the statewide stay-at-home order due to COVID-19. In the Matter Concerning Connolly, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 2, 2021) (admonishment for this and other misconduct).
  • “Kansas boy” and “Can I take a wild guess? Did you have a felony record before [Independence Community College] gave you a scholarship?” Judge to young male African-American defendant college athlete at arraignment. In the Matter of Cullins, 481 P.3d 774 (Kansas 2021) (1-year stayed suspension).
  • “If I was in drug court, I would have stayed my a** in the car,” and “We’re your probation officer.” Judge “fashion[ing] a remedy outside of accepted statutory and ethical norms” for a defendant in an assault case. In the Matter of Rasul, 245 A.3d 535 (New Jersey 2021), adopting presentment (10-month suspension with pay for this and related misconduct).
  • “I would not believe his tongue if it were notarized.” Judge about social worker in family court proceeding. In re Younge, Opinion and order (December 1, 2021), Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline June 2, 2021) (6-month suspension for this and other misconduct).
  • “Oh, we’re done here. Let me tell you something. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Call me crazy. I’m not paying caregivers to allow hookup here. . . . “I don’t care if she’s eighteen. Not on my watch. This is over. Over, over, over, over, over. That’s it. Not doing it. I mean like really? I’m done. Done, done, done. This is over. Discharged. Discharged.” Judge after learning that a male had spent nights at the foster home of his girlfriend, an 18-year-old female in extended foster care. In re Younge, Opinion and order (December 1, 2021), Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline June 2, 2021) (6-month suspension for this and other misconduct).

Around the courthouse

  • “Get off [my] f***ing back.” Judge to court administrator who told her there was no such thing as the “in house” probation the judge had imposed on a defendant and that the defendants may not make restitution payments to the victim directly at the courthouse as directed by the judge. In the Matter of Rasul, 245 A.3d 535 (New Jersey 2021), adopting presentment (10-month suspension with pay for this and related misconduct)
  • “This is ridiculous!”; “This isn’t working! This isn’t working!”; and “Fix it immediately!”. Judge yelling about internet outage in courthouse. Public Admonishment of Roberts (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 18, 2021) (admonishment for this and other misconduct).
  • “Thanks for the support.” Judge, derisively, to assistant presiding judge who told the judge that she was going to leave if the judge continued to yell. Public Admonishment of Roberts (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 18, 2021) (admonishment for this and other misconduct).
  • “N-word.” Judge using full word in conversation with court staff on why Black people can use the word but White people cannot. In the Matter of Chase, 485 P.3d 65 (Colorado 2021) (censure of former judge).
  • “F****** b****.” Judge referring to another judge in conversation with her clerk. In the Matter of Chase, 485 P.3d 65 (Colorado 2021) (censure of former judge).
  • “F**k” and its “derivatives. Judge frequently in the courthouse. In the Matter of Cullins, 481 P.3d 774 (Kansas 2021) (1-year suspension, stayed after 60 days with conditions).
  • “B**ch” and “c**t.” Judge describing women. In the Matter of Cullins, 481 P.3d 774 (Kansas 2021) (1-year suspension, stayed after 60 days with conditions).
  • “Hello I’m talking to you. This is your honor speaking.” Judge in text to member of the public who frequented the courthouse and had not responded to the judge’s sexual, homophobic, and racist texts and verbal comments. Public Admonishment of Poe (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission March 12, 2021).

On social media

  • “Trump will steam roll this election. Those who’s [sic] eyes are closed move their mouths more to make up for their insecurities. Stay strong; pray against evil.” Judge’s comment on Trump’s Facebook page. In the Matter of Quinn, Public reprimand (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards March 9, 2021).
  • “Here we are!” Judge commenting on Facebook about a photograph of himself in the Trump Boat Parade published in the St. Cloud Times. In the Matter of Quinn, Public reprimand (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards March 9, 2021).
  • “I always tell her that she and her brothers and sisters in blue are still appreciated in OUR community. Today’s event, and the overwhelming number of participants is a true example of that appreciation.” Judge in Facebook post about watching a Back the Blue event with his daughter, a police officer. In the Matter of Peck, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 19, 2021) (admonishment).
  • “It’s not sad!” Judge responding to Facebook friend’s comment about a former member of the House of Delegates charged with participating in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In the Matter of Jackson, Public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission February 24, 2021).

Abuse of the prestige of office

  • “Do me a big favor;” “And we’ll clear this all up tomorrow, trust me. (Laughs) and you’ve never had Judge Smith call you and say something like that;” and “But you do know who I am don’t ya?” Judge to county sheriff’s dispatcher about throwing papers for a specific person’s divorce in a drawer so that they would not be served. Inquiry Concerning Smith, Order (Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct February 25, 2021) (cease and desist order).
  • “He and I are gonna lock up before this is all over. . . . I’m gonna f**k him up before this is all over. Trust me. Just stay calm. Because he used to beat his wife like a broom. And it never got turned in. Oh no. He’s a wife beater. I know all this s**t. So I’m gonna f**k him up before this is over.” . . . That smokey the bear hat I pretty sure I can shove that right up his a** but that’s for later. I’ve got to lay and wait – for all this. That’s gonna be a while;” and “I could make all kinds of s**t up. TV would love it. I’m not gonna do that. I’m not that kind of person.” Judge to undersheriff about the county sheriff. Inquiry Concerning Smith, Order (Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct February 25, 2021) (cease and desist order).
  • “No. I mean, it’s club soda;” “Can I tell you something else? I’m a judge of the Orphans’ Court. So please. I’m serious;” “Losing my whole f—ing life;” and “Because if I lose my job with the courts, I’ll lose my health insurance.” Judge in response to question, “Is there anything in that cup in the center console?” from county sheriff’s sergeant who stopped her for speeding and hitting a cone when turning a corner. In the Matter of Nickerson, 248 A.3d 298 (Maryland 2021).

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