25 years ago this month:
- Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court removed a former judge from office for (1) in a dispute between a pastor and several members of his church, issuing an ex parte temporary restraining order against the pastor without notice, having the pastor arrested on several occasions, going to the church during a disturbance, and refusing to allow the pastor to press charges against church members as a result of a disturbance; (2) engaging in ex parte communications about tickets and dismissing cases without a hearing; (3) signing an execution of judgement without authority; (4) handling fine and bond money from litigants contrary to statute and loaning money to litigants; (5) without authority, allowing a defendant charged with driving while his license was suspended and driving under the influence to plead to lesser charges; and (6) circulating an order after being served with a formal complaint by the Commission to the constables and members of the justice staff demanding that they deliver official and unofficial notes and evidence relating to the allegations and threatening punishment for contempt for failure to abide by his orders. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Dodds, 680 So. 2d 180 (Mississippi 1996).
- The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for stating to a woman who had appeared in court to pay a fine the judge had imposed on her son that he did not want “mom or dad” to pay the fine, and, without provocation, loudly and angrily called her a “god-dam, interfering, middle-aged b***h” and her son a “stupid s**t.” In the Matter of Mahon, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 8, 1996).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for refusing to release a defendant because he had been required to get out of bed to conduct the arraignment, asking the deputy sheriff who was transporting the defendant whether he was being “black-balled” by the sheriff’s department inasmuch as he had not been contacted to conduct many arraignments recently, and referring to the county sheriff as a “f***ing a*****e.” In the Matter of McKevitt, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 8, 1996).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) after another judge with whom she had had a close, personal, and intimate relationship married another women, obtaining confidential records from the matrimonial proceedings of his new wife; (2) mailing approximately 60 anonymous, harassing, malicious, vituperative, and derisive statements about the other judge and his wife to newspapers, businesses, and individuals, including the judge and his wife, their relatives, friends, and neighbors; and (3) accepting a bargained guilty plea from a defendant without advising him or defense counsel that she had received a note from the jury. In the Matter of Miller, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 14, 1996).
- Pursuant to a stipulation, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for his consensual sexual relationship with a judicial secretary for 1 or 2 months that affected the workplace “through distractions including social contacts, rumors, and work performance problems.” In re Fritzler, Stipulation and Order of Censure (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 9, 1996).