Recent cases

  • Pursuant to a stipulation and the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for interfering and failing to cooperate with court officials in the administrative of court business with respect to personnel matters and using inappropriate language around court staff and court officials.  In the Matter of Chelini, Stipulation and order of consent (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 12, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a former non-lawyer judge it was investigating based on the judge’s arrest on criminal charges of harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, his invocation of his judicial office at the time of his arrest when he asked the investigator to recommend a less restrictive order of protection, and his failure for approximately 3 months to comply with a court order to surrender all of his firearms.  In the Matter of Duyssen, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 5, 2021).
  • Based on the report of the Board of Professional Conduct, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for regularly communicating on Facebook messenger and over the phone with a litigant about 4 cases over which the judge was presiding; the Court stayed the suspension conditioned on the judge completing at least 3 hours of continuing judicial education on ex parte communications or use of social media by judicial officers, refraining from further misconduct, and paying the costs of the proceedings.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Winters (Ohio Supreme Court August 18, 2021).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a magistrate for 6 months for his disruptive behavior during a meeting about the court’s Covid-19 safety plan, his confrontations with another magistrate and the Chief Magistrate after the meeting, and his statement to a clerk about the Chief Magistrate’s complaint to Disciplinary Counsel; the suspension was made retroactive to July 10, 2020, the date of his interim suspension, and the Court also ordered him to complete at least 15 hours of anger management and to pay the costs of the investigation.  In the Matter of Rivers (South Carolina Supreme Court August 11, 2021).
  • Based on the judge’s resignation and agreement to be disqualified from judicial service in the state, the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct agreed not to pursue further disciplinary proceedings against a former justice of the peace and associate municipal court judge; in May 2019, the Commission had suspended the judge without pay after she was indicted on state charges of theft of more than $2,500, but less than $30,000, and abuse of official capacity.  Grigsby, Voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 12, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for her posts on her personal Facebook page that supported judicial candidates, opposed candidates for non-judicial offices, made a negative comment about Scientology, and included a meme about border crossings; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of instruction on racial sensitivity with a mentor.  Public Warning of Baca Bennet and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 16, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, after learning that the county attorney sought to dismiss a traffic matter, initiating an ex parte communication about the merits of the case with the officer who issued the citation and directing his clerk to tell the county attorney that the officer was opposed to the dismissal.  Public Admonition of Zander and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 12, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for ordering the activation of a criminal defendant’s stun cuff, which resulted in injury to the defendant and his absence from the remainder of the guilt/innocence phase of his trial.  Public Warning of Gallagher (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 19, 2021).
  • Based on agreements to resign and never to seek judicial office, the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished 2 former magistrates for dismissing criminal charges in exchange for donations to a charitable organization by granting motions to dismiss filed by the prosecution.  Public Admonishment of Nutter (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission August 27, 2021); Public Admonishment of Taylor (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission August 27, 2021).

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