10 years ago this month:
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for abusing his contempt power in response to a report that a member of the public was using her cell phone to take pictures or videos of people in the courthouse lobby involved in dependency court proceedings. In the Matter Concerning Wagoner, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 13, 2011).
- Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) obtaining and consuming marijuana at least once a week from March to May of 2010; (2) showing up at the house of his sister-in-law’s estranged husband, identifying himself as a magistrate judge, and then kicking in 2 interior doors at the man’s home; (3) in the courthouse, pointing a firearm at himself and stating to another magistrate judge, “I am not scared. Are you all scared?”; (4) while on a local cable television show called “Night Talk,” (a) making derogatory remarks about the Chief Magistrate Judge and calling him “spineless,” (b) publicly disclosing that he had filed a complaint with the Commission against the Chief Magistrate Judge, and (c) exposing the identity of a confidential informant and displaying a photograph of the informant; (5) making a phone call to “Night Talk,” and, after initially trying to disguise his voice with multiple foreign accents, told the sheriff (who was being interviewed on the show) that he had “crapped himself’ and was a “spineless jelly spine;” and (6) refusing to work hours that had been assigned to him by the Chief Magistrate Judge. Inquiry Concerning Peters, 715 S.E.2d 56 (Georgia 2011).
- Based on agreed findings of facts, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a part-time judge for 30-days without pay, publicly reprimanded her, and fined her $500 for executing a felony arrest warrant for a client’s ex-husband based upon an affidavit submitted by her client. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Bustin, 71 So. 3d 598 (Mississippi 2011).
- The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for discussing a citation with the game warden who had issued it and unilaterally dismissing the case based on ex parte communications with the defendant and the fear of a potential lawsuit against the county. Public Admonition of Cox (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 8, 2011).
- The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a judge for delegating to his law clerk responsibility for presiding over 2 hearings on name change petitions. In the Matter of Yoder, Public Admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission September 2011).